The Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA) has condemned the CompanionAnimals’ Amendment (Puppy Farm) Bill 2021, saying that it has “no basis onanimal welfare”.

The Bill, introduced by the Animal Justice Party last week, seeks to eliminateregulated professional dog breeding by severely limiting the number ofbreeding dogs a breeder can have.

Furthermore, it seeks to prohibit the sale of puppies through pet stores thatare not from a rehoming organisation. The Bill ignores that pet stores alreadyhave safeguards in place with current local Government codes of practice andtraceability via microchipping.

A spokesperson for the PIAA told Pet Industry News (PIN) that eliminatingpuppy farms is a paramount aim of the Association, but this Bill hascompletely missed the mark.

“We are all for regulation. We are all about animal welfare but from aneducated perspective, through consultation and working together,” said thespokesperson.

“This Bill seeks to eliminate regulated professional dog breeding which willcut the supply of dogs so dramatically that unregulated backyard breeders(accessed predominantly via untraceable online trading platforms such asGumtree) will be the only sources of puppies.”

The Bill would seek to restrict breeders to a maximum of 10 breeding dogs andsuggests that two or less breeding dogs would not lead to poor animal welfareoutcomes, so these breeders need not be held accountable.

But the PIAA stresses that poor dog breeding practices can occur with anynumber of dogs, and that all breeders should be regulated equally,irrespective of the number of breeding animals.

“A puppy farm is defined by poor treatment of dogs, not the number of breedingdogs.”

The PIAA believes the only way you can eliminate abusive breeding practices(puppy farms) is to introduce a tiered self-funded dog/cat breeder licensesystem – the larger the breeder, the higher the fees and more frequent theaudits. Audits must be done by a third-party authority such as RSPCA and theAnimal Welfare League (AWL).

Barry Codling, President, PIAA, is astounded by the lack of insight by theAnimal Justice Party to introduce such legislation.

“It is obvious after three years of consultation into a similar Bill inVictoria that simply cutting the number of breeding animals is not thesolution.

“Industry can see that there are improvements to be made but ensuring animalwelfare will be done through auditing and licensing, not cutting out breedingentirely,” said Codling.

Australia has one of the highest pet populations in the world where 69 percent of households own a pet of some kind, and demand is predicted toincrease.

According to the PIAA, regulated pet shops equate to less than five per centof all puppy sales, where unregulated online sales equate to more than 50 percent.

The PIAA says that unnecessarily restricting breeders will force the pricingof dogs to be out of reach for the average Australian. And by prohibiting thesale of pure-bred puppies through pet stores would drive further sales online.

“Families in NSW will be forced online to choose family pets and take thegamble of being scammed out of thousands of dollars, choosing a dog from anunregulated breeder, and potentially ending up with a poorly bred dog withhealth or behavioural problems. They will then have nowhere to turn. Thisoften leads to poor outcomes for the dog. It makes far more sense to offerfamilies an auditing and licensing system, including assurances of healthybloodlines, socialisation and support in rehoming animals if theircircumstances change,” says Codling.

“What makes the PIAA really concerned is that this Bill also risks the abilityof NSW families to have family pets. The much-loved occasion of bringing apuppy home and watching it grow up with your family could be lost for NSWfamilies if this Bill comes into effect.

“Both the NSW and Victorian Parliamentary Inquiries into puppy farmsrecommended a tiered breeder and pet shop license system with stricterregulation. They both found that there is no benefit to welfare to ban petshops and restricting dog breeders to 10 dogs. Perhaps it is time to listen tothe experts and the regulators of the industry.”

Tagged: Animal Justice Party, Pet Industry Association of Australia, PIAA

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