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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Wednesday, 8 December 2010) . . Page.. 5959 ..


MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo), by leave: I present the following papers:

Animal Welfare Legislation Amendment Bill 2010—

Exposure draft.

Explanatory statement.

I seek leave to make a statement.

Leave granted.

MS LE COUTEUR: At the beginning of 2010 I spoke in the Assembly about a variety of animal welfare issues. I spoke about problems with pet stores and the commercialisation of animals, impulse buying, unscrupulous breeding, puppy farms, desexing, abandonment and euthanasia, and the advertising of animals. I concluded by saying that the Greens were looking into legislation that would address these problems.

Now, at the end of this year, I am very pleased to be able to table the exposure draft of that legislation, which I hope will go towards making a significant improvement to these problems. I am also tabling explanatory and discussion material to accompany the bill.

In developing this work, I and my office have consulted widely with groups and individuals, but we look forward to further comments from the community and from groups and individuals who are interested in this issue. The consultation period is until 22 February so I look forward to being in a position to bring this legislation forward in the first half of 2011.

The ACT has an ongoing program with overbreeding and abandonment of companion animals which results in the suffering and euthanasing of animals as well as burdening the resources of animal welfare organisations and the government.

Thousands of companion animals are abandoned each year in the ACT. During the 2009-10 financial year the ACT RSPCA alone was presented with 1,670 dogs or puppies and 2,748 cats or kittens. This means on average the RSPCA is presented with over 12 cats or dogs every day of the year. In addition, during the same year the ACT Domestic Animal Services processed 2,050 stray or abandoned dogs. The above figures do not include animals that are rescued and rehomed by other volunteers and volunteer groups in the ACT.

Of course, it is not always possible to rehome every animal accepted by animal shelters, although the rate of rehoming in the ACT is currently very good compared to other Australian jurisdictions. Every year, unfortunately, hundreds of animals have to be euthanased. In 2009-10, for example, the RSPCA had to euthanase 1,183 cats and 98 dogs.

Many animals are abandoned because they were bought on impulse, often as cute puppies or kittens in pet store windows, without the purchaser fully thinking through

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