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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 19 February 2015) . . Page.. 567 ..

The introduction of breeding licences also means that authorised people under the Domestic Animals Act will be empowered to inspect breeding establishments to ensure that they are complying with the proposed breeding standard. I envisage that compliance activity in the first instance would target those operators who are breeding animals for profit without holding a breeding licence.

Of course, there is always the potential for controversy when introducing a licensing scheme to regulate an industry that has traditionally been self-regulating, if regulating at all. For this reason, the proposed breeding licensing scheme has been designed to minimise red tape and regulatory requirements on the ACT’s legitimate pet breeding industry where possible.

I am advised that there are currently about 100 dog or cat breeders operating in the ACT. If enacted, this legislation will obviously affect those breeders. To ensure the broadest possible acceptance of the proposed breeding licensing scheme, I asked the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate to conduct a targeted consultation with industry stakeholders on this legislation. This consultation occurred in November and December 2014.

Many thoughtful and practical comments were received from stakeholders, which helped to shape the final bill that I am presenting today. I sincerely thank the Pet Industry Association of Australia, the ACT Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, Dogs ACT, Capital Cats, the Australian Veterinary Association and the RSPCA, both the ACT and Australian branches, for their comments and valuable contributions to this bill.

As I mentioned, all of the consulted stakeholders support the bill’s aim of preventing intensive dog and cat breeding operations in the ACT. Despite current legislation and the work of animal welfare organisations like the RSPCA, unscrupulous intensive animal breeders can be successful in hiding their maltreatment of animals. The Canberra community therefore also plays an important role, along with government, in helping to stamp out irresponsible pet breeding.

The passage of this legislation will allow members of the public to participate in stopping intensive dog and cat breeding in a number of ways. Some of the ways that members of the public can assist in this goal are by avoiding the purchase of a puppy or kitten from an unlicensed breeder and by reporting suspicious pet breeding activities to Domestic Animal Services for investigation.

Madam Speaker, I truly believe that the Canberra community expects that domestic animal breeding practices are undertaken within appropriate welfare standards. I wholeheartedly agree with the community on this point. The legislation that I have presented today will ensure that legal action can be taken against irresponsible dog and cat breeders who seek to operate within the ACT. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth) adjourned to the next sitting.

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