The Pet Industry Association of Australia has expressed its disappointment that the Victorian Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford ignored the advice of industry experts in her revised Puppy Farm Bill.
“We expect better standards from the Government when making laws for the industry,” PIAA CEO Mark Fraser said. “We expect them to listen to the facts, the science and the experts and not play politics with animal welfare.”
While PIAA commends the Minister on the move to implement a pet register, it is critical of the prohibition on selling puppies and kittens in pet shops.
By banning pet stores “the Minister has removed the one truly transparent and regulated platform for purchasing a puppy. This will see a huge increase in online sales which will have a detrimental impact on animal welfare,” Fraser said.
He added that this view is supported by the Victorian chapter of the Australian Veterinary Association and two parliamentary inquiries (one in Victoria and one in NSW) which found closing pet shops will lead to less scrutiny in the sector without improving welfare.
“Whilst PIAA is a strong advocate of rehoming dogs and cats, the Minister’s rational is flawed,” Fraser continued. “Why is it okay for pet shops to have six-month-old rescue dogs and not puppies and kittens from transparent, professional and ethical breeders?”
PIAA is also disappointed that the Minister has capped the number of fertile dogs to 10 for a breeder, and 50 for a commercial breeder, arguing that the focus should be on the standard of care of a breeder and not the number of breeding dogs.
Another concern PIAA has is that the decision as to whether a breeder acquires a licence or has it renewed will depend on the Minister’s discretion.
“This creates a lot of uncertainty in the sector,” Davis said.
“Without knowing the basis upon which the Minister will grant or renew a licence, how can breeders invest in infrastructure and their facilities. This investment is the very thing that improves animal welfare standards and the Minister is making this impossible for breeders.”