Page 565 - Week 02 - Thursday, 19 February 2015

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When female dogs and cats in intensive breeding operations can no longer produce litters they are often destroyed because they no longer have a commercial value to the operator. Their place in the breeding facility is then taken by another female animal which will be intensely bred her entire life until it is eventually her turn to be destroyed, and then the cycle continues.

The RSPCA in Queensland recorded dealing with 12 separate cases of intensive puppy breeding in the years from 2008 to 2010. The RSPCA further estimates that the prevalence of intensive puppy and kitten breeding operations is similar in other Australian states and that there appears to be a particular problem in regional areas of Victoria. Puppy farm operations have been uncovered in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

The ACT is an island surrounded by this cruel activity. It is important that we legislate to prevent it occurring here. Recent animal welfare investigations into the intensive breeding of domestic animals in the ACT have focused on hoarding issues rather than on intensive commercial breeding, although the two issues may be related in some cases.

There is, however, anecdotal evidence of intensive puppy breeding operations occurring just over the border in New South Wales for the Canberra pet market. The legislation I am presenting today will pre-emptively prevent the establishment of such facilities from operating in the ACT and will stop unscrupulous breeding operators from relocating their business into the territory.

Importantly, the changes I am proposing today take place in a context where jurisdictions across Australia are taking action to try and abolish the intensive breeding of dogs and cats for the pet market. It is an issue that appears to have the support of most political parties in Australia.

As members may be aware, over the past few years Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania have either enacted legislation or adopted codes of practice to prevent or regulate intensive breeding operations. The Gold Coast City Council is currently trialling a pilot program to regulate the breeders of dogs and cats. The South Australian parliament is considering a bill that aims to close down puppy factories operating in that state and to introduce a breeders licensing scheme similar to that I am proposing.

In November last year the Victorian government was elected on a platform of, among other matters, strengthening the legislation in that state to phase out puppy farms. The bill that I am presenting today ensures that the ACT takes its place within the growing movement in Australian jurisdictions to legislate to ban the cruel and controversial intensive pet breeding industry.

A wide range of stakeholders were consulted in developing this bill, including animal welfare organisations, breeders and pet industry stakeholders. All of these stakeholders support this bill’s aim of preventing intensive dog and cat breeding operations in the ACT. In the past, in managing intensive breeding operations,

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