Peak body urges government to include animal welfare in COVID-19 roadmap

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domestic pets COVID-19
Photo: Wavebreak Media – 123rf

The Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA) has called on the Victorian Government to ensure the welfare of domestic animals is considered in Victoria’s roadmap out of Stage 4 lockdown.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve seen many people turn to animal companionship to help them get through a very tough time,” PIAA national president Barry Codling said.  

“Just like their owners, pets need to be properly fed, exercised and cared for. 

“This isn’t just about veterinary and feed services, but access to other supplies and services that ensure domestic animals can live happily and healthily, even in the midst of this pandemic.” 

With the Victorian Government announcing its first step on the coronavirus road to recovery on Sunday, Codling said it was extremely important to treat domestic and companion animal health and welfare services as essential and not discretionary. 

“We call on the Premier, Mr Andrews, and the Minister for Jobs, Mr Pakula, to include pet services businesses in their roadmap and economic recovery consultations, and ensure the health and welfare needs of domestic animals, as well as livestock, are fully respected in all future decisions [pertaining] to extending Victoria’s state of emergency and state of disaster,” Codling said. 

PIAA is also calling for Victoria’s essential and emergency services legislation to be amended after this emergency passes, to ensure that animal welfare is specifically defined as an essential service in any future state of emergency. 

“It’s vitally important, in times of grave emergency, that meeting the basic health and welfare needs of Victoria’s domestic and companion animals does not depend on the discretion of ministers and officials but is unambiguously legislated as a category of essential service,” Codling added.

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