are we being duped again? puppy farmers speak loudest!

Register your view before Wednesday 14th August 2013, 9.00 am.

A few years ago we called on you for your support to make submissions on the Code of Practice for the Management of Shelters and Pounds. When the final version arrived we realised that, either by design or otherwise, we had been forced to focus on a few outrageous inclusions rather than the whole Code. Many in the animal welfare community consequently cheered as the couple of ‘red herrings’ such as the abolition of the 28-day rule included in the draft Code were so easily removed in the final document. However we felt that we had been manipulated very successfully by those in the drafting room and those with more powerful voices than ours.

And here we are yet again.

This time the process has been even more interesting, and even more distressing.

We were asked by the Department to be part of the welfare component of a working group to develop some guidelines as to what should be in the new Code (given how little was in the current code there really was no starting point) for puppy farms and back yard breeders, whom we shall from here on call the ‘industry’. Our first reaction was to scream NO. We cannot be part of anything that accepts that puppy farms exist. By being party to it aren’t we condoning their existence? Despite these feelings we decided that the current Government was not going to legislate this industry out of existence. Their rationale no doubt was that a Regulatory Impact Statement would prevail given that this industry was a very profitable one and such changes would stop this. Therefore we decided we did need to participate and try to be heard above the voices of the industry and their financially st rong supporting organisations.

So we joined the working group in a specific ‘welfare’ group and little was shared during or after the day. Then the draft appeared for public consultation. And yes, there were improvements: almost impossible not to be when you consider the existing code. Our intuition still warned us we should not be party to this, but there were so many who felt the result was ‘okay’ and an acceptable compromise. So we reviewed the draft. We reiterated our prior submission where our comments had not been incorporated. We commended the Department on improving the position and we tried to get others to make submissions; we suspect without much success.

But there was another group working hard too, flooding the department and the Minister with submissions, with lobbyists, with numbers! After all these groups had to work hard as many people stand to lose a lot of money if the animals involved in the industry are treated in any sort of humane fashion.

These people spoke loudly and were heard very clearly.

Now another draft appears, still setting standards for an industry that should not even exist, but now with a significant decline in terms of the welfare of the dogs and cats imprisoned for life to make these ‘manufacturers’ even more dollars.

We suspect we are now, once again, being forced to look at a few small disgusting areas while the ‘whole’ passes by. We have confined our submission to those issues on which we had commented previously which have been changed or where new items have emerged. This does not mean we accept all or any of it, but we feel our integrity in the ‘process’ is important and we should always have realised any input of ours or other ‘welfare’ members was always tokenism.

Despite this we always hoped. Now we are outraged.

Here we applaud the RSPCA for speaking very clearly on this Code for consultation and suggest you also read their comments, available on this link: http://www.rspcavic.org/issues-take-action/puppy-factories/

Please download and read our submission. Feel free to use it:

VDRG - Comment on the Draft Code

If you have time, we would prefer you read the Code and develop your own comments; we guarantee you will find more to comment on than we have included. Please do not simply respond to the Department saying the Code should not exist – this does not assist those animals at this time. But please do preface your letter by saying it should not exist. Let those involved know what you feel about this degradation of our companion animals.

If you are short of time, say that you support our submission or that of the RSPCA. In this instance we have a common aim.

Please be strong, know that one day we will legislate this barbaric industry out of existence, but in the meantime at least let us make it harder for them to operate.

Particularly we draw your attention to the killing clause. In this case for some animals it may be euthanasia, that is a mercy. In Minister Walsh’s electorate animals are shot at the pound. They always have been. After all the vet is 30 kms or so away. Why would we expect Minister Walsh to see anything wrong with this? Particularly after his defence on this issue on the radio program he spoke to in Ballarat. Of course unwanted stock are killed in the most convenient way. Shooting or hitting on the head with a hammer. As long as it is ‘humane’. And make no mistake what this Code makes clear is that is all that they are. Stock. Not to be treated or regarded or have the same feelings or needs as companion animals. Nor do we believe that any animal at all should be killed in this fashion.

We also strongly raise the question why Dogs Victo ria is classified as an applicable organisation and given the right to have ten breeding animals without falling under even this inadequate Code. You judge a group by its lowest common denominator. If Dogs Victoria cannot clean up their ranks their status should be withdrawn, and certainly their heavy input into such a Code discounted.

You can find the Draft Code here: http://www.depi.vic.gov.au/pets/domestic-animal-businesses/breeding-and-rearing-businesses/breeding-and-rearing-code-review

All submissions must be in writing and must be accompanied by the submitter's name (affiliation is optional), mailing address and a contact email address. Submissions will be accepted in hard format or email only. If you are emailing ensure you do include your name and address.

Submissions may be emailed to animal.welfare@depi.vic.gov.au or posted to:
Breeding and Rearing Code Review
Bureau of Animal Welfare
475 Mickleham Rd
Attwood VIC 3049

Hard copy submission must be post marked before 14 August 2013 to be accepted.

Thank you for your continued support.