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The NSW Government has not committed to implementing recommendations made by an inquiry into puppy farming, according to their response tabled on Monday in Parliament.
Earlier this year, the Animal Justice Party’s Companion Animals Amendment (Puppy Farm) Bill, which proposed greater regulation and control over the conduct of puppy and kitten breeders, was referred to a Senate Committee inquiry. The Senate Committee’s report, released in August 2022, made 18 recommendations for addressing cruel and unethical breeding practices, the state’s breeding code, licensing, the NSW Pet Registry and consumer protections.
Unethical and intensive breeding sees thousands of animals forced to live in extremely poor conditions in New South Wales without adequate socialisation, exercise, comfort, vet care and stimulation. Indeed, the Breeding Code provides that dogs can be confined for up to 23 hours and 40 minutes a day. These animals are bred repeatedly with no end in sight. In turn, many puppies and kittens are born with health issues that are not detected when they are purchased.
In addition to these poor welfare outcomes, intensive breeding operations saturate the market with an excess of animals, leaving many neglected or abandoned. This places a huge burden on already inundated shelters and rehoming organisations, which receive little to no government funding. Consequently, thousands of companion animals are euthanised in the state each year purely due to the excess of animals and resource constraints.
Martine Lappan, animal welfare law and policy campaigner for Humane Society International (HSI), said: “We are disappointed that the NSW Government has not supported the Puppy Farm Bill, or endorsed the recommendations made following the inquiry. The cruelty of these loosely regulated puppy and kitten farms cannot be understated, nor can the burden they place on rehoming services and shelters. It’s well past time that something was done to stymie the rampant exploitation and neglect that these animals are forced to endure on a daily basis.”
HSI supports strong regulation, oversight and enforcement of companion animal breeding practices and businesses. In particular, we support legislation that mandates registration and licensing, compulsory vet checks, traceability, and high standards for the conditions in which animals are kept for breeding. That legislation must also set the lowest possible limit on the number of litters a female can have in her lifetime, cap the number of fertile females proprietors can keep at the lowest number possible, set low staff-to-animal ratios in companion animal businesses, and restrict pet shops to the sale of rescue animals. This regulatory framework must apply to all companion animal businesses, without exception.
“With an election looming, we are urging all parties to adopt policies that will see a rapid end to the cruelty of intensive breeding practices in NSW,” said Ms Lappan.