Page 1012 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 17 March 2010

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RSPCA took in 1,215 dogs, another 413 puppies, almost 1,200 kittens and another 1,000 cats. As I think Ms Porter noted, they are succeeding in re-homing 96 per cent of these animals, which is great, but it would be better not to have the problem in the first place.

We would look at the government taking action to restrict opportunities for impulse buying of pets. This could mean restricting the sale of animals like dogs and cats to registered breeders, from animal pounds or vets, and requiring the provision of specific information about the dedicated, ongoing care that animals will require. It is only recently that pet stores have become the major suppliers of domestic pets to the public, and they have started to grow into a profit-making industry.

But why does anyone need to buy a puppy or a kitten from the window of a pet store in a shopping mall? This just, unfortunately, encourages impulse buying which leads to the problems that the RSPCA have every year, which Ms Porter alluded to. The Greens are also looking into legislation to address this problem, which could improve the welfare of millions of animals throughout Australia each year by reducing the opportunist impulse purchase of animals.

Lastly, I want to briefly mention the issue of desexing. Unwanted litters are another problem which causes animals to be abandoned, mistreated and to suffer. Selling animals through the internet or newspaper classifieds is a problem which leads to the oversupply of un-desexed animals. The RSPCA’s research shows that in 2009 the Canberra Times classified advertising offered over 5,000 companion animals for sale. Of these, 93 per cent were un-desexed and 75 per cent did not have a microchip. Currently in pet shops only a very small percentage of puppies and kittens offered for sale are desexed. We should look into addressing this issue. The possible solutions could be requiring animals to be desexed when sold or ensuring better compliance with the legislation which currently requires owners to desex their pets after six months.

On the issue of advertising, I should mention that regulating the pet industry is also likely to involve regulating the way animals can be advertised for sale, to prevent the business simply escaping out of pet shops and into the classifieds or the internet. I would like to thank Ms Porter again for introducing this motion. If she or other members of the government or, in fact, other members of the opposition would like to work with the Greens on the issues that I have raised, I would be very happy to do so. I move the amendment circulated in my name:

Omit paragraph (2), substitute:

“(c) that all animals deserve protection, regardless of species or whether they are agricultural, domestic or research animals;

(2) encourages the ACT Government to continue to look at practical ways to improve the welfare of domestic animals in the ACT; and

(3) calls on the ACT Government to enact equitable animal welfare laws that provide an equally high standard of protection to all animals.”.

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