Pet welfare laws 'ineffective, short-sighted'
ABC March 7, 2011, 7:50 am http://au.news.yahoo.com/queensland/a/-/australian-news/8962417/pet-welfare-laws-ineffective-short-sighted/
The ACT Government will oppose new animal welfare laws put forward by the Greens, labelling them as short-sighted and unnecessary.
The Greens have introduced a draft bill to the Legislative Assembly to make the Territory's animal welfare laws the toughest in the country.
The proposed laws would ban pet stores from displaying kittens or puppies in shop windows, and prohibit the sale of animals to children.
The Animal Welfare Bill also calls for the mandatory de-sexing of cats and dogs at the point of sale and aims to increase fines for people who commit animal cruelty.
The Australian Companion Animal Council (ACAC) has made a submission claiming the proposal unfairly targets pet shops.
Mr Stanhope says the bill will be ineffective as pet shops only account for 15 per cent of the sales of kittens and puppies.
"Pet shops and pet shop owners are certainly the most easily to be regulated. Probably the best regulated and the most responsible," he said.
"So we think it's a very unfair focus on a very small, well regulated and well run sector of the pet industry."
Mr Stanhope says the bill has been poorly thought out.
"The Greens' bill will essentially wipe pet shops out in the ACT. That's the ultimate effect. The business case that they operate under - for those that use or sell pets - does almost require them to do that, for them to be sustainable," he said.
The Greens have accused the government of hand picking public submissions that suit its own argument, like the one from the ACAC.
MLA Caroline Le Couteur says most submissions support their call for tighter regulations on the sales of pets.
"Without a doubt that was the most negative that we got. Basically the rest have all been pretty positive.
"I think they're representative of a small part of the industry only and my understanding from feedback we have had that not all of their members would agree with what they have publicly said on this," she said.
Ms Le Couteur says tighter regulations for pet shops is only a small part of the legislation.
"We want to make sure that every pet in Canberra is a wanted a pet. About 1,500 dogs and about a similar number of cats are euthanised each year in the ACT because they are simply unwanted and homeless," she said."We want to reduce that and so so I'm very concerned that the Stanhope Government is just playing politics with this."