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2016 Wrap up

Animal welfare matters for livestock working dog breeders

- 2016 wrap up

 

By the end of 2016, governments around Australia were at different stages of reviewing legislation and codes relating to animal breeding practices and welfare.

 

Although the focus is on puppy farming, all dog breeders are affected.

 

Policy decisions have and can be made without due consideration of practicalities, cost and fairness for livestock working dog breeders. Challenges include:

 

Poor understanding of

the differences between a pet dog, a livestock working dog and other types of working dogs

the role and value of livestock dogs to the agricultural industry

the difference between land owners and stock men and women, the latter who make up the majority of livestock working dog breeders

The many opinions and misconceptions around what constitutes good animal husbandry

The complexity and inconsistency of legislation between state and local governments and across states

Inadequate community consultation by governments which results in decisions skewed to city not farm environments

 

These challenges mean livestock working dog breeders must have a strong, united and consistent voice across Australia, so their needs and considerations are heard and understood by local, state and national policy makers.

 

The Australia Federation for Livestock Working Dogs (AFLWD) offers a way to do that. It was created in 2014 to provide an educated source of reliable information on behalf of all Australian livestock dogs and their breeders.

 

It works by maintaining a national network for state-based livestock dog associations and farmer organisations to:

share information

learn from each others’ experience

work through issues

form critical alliances with farmer federations and other groups

compile facts and insights to inform and educate their local and state governments.

 

You can find out more about the Federation on its website and stay in touch by joining its Facebook group

 

So what’s the current situation of your State’s animal welfare laws at the end of 2016?

 

----------

 

In New South Wales

 

State and local governments are still in the process of responding to recommendations made by the Joint Select Committee on Animal Breeding Practices in 2015, including that:

the NSW Animal Welfare Advisory Council review certain sections of the Breeding Cats and Dogs Code such as litter restrictions, mandatory desexing, enclosure specifications, staff-to-animal ratios, training and qualification of breeders

the Office of Local Government, local councils and Department of Primary Industries Animal Welfare Unit undertake significant work on the breeders register such as streamlining the registration and microchipping process, centralising data on breeders and considering a breeders’ license scheme

 

Through the AFLWD, state livestock dog associations are monitoring developments and keeping in contact with NSW government and NSW Farmers.

 

To find out more, contact your AFLWD representative in the NSW Sheepdog Workers Association, NSW Working Stock Dog Association, NSW Yard Dog Association or Working Kelpie Council.

 

----------

 

In Queensland

 

The Animal Management (Protecting Puppies) and other Legislation Amendment Act 2016 was passed and will come into effect in 2017 requiring all dog breeders to be registered.

 

Registered dog breeders will be given a breeder identification number that must be included in the microchip details of the dog and be displayed when advertising a dog for sale or to be given away.

 

Primary producers who breed working dogs and accredited breeders of approved entities will be exempt from the registration scheme.

 

The exemption was the result of successful collaboration between state livestock dog associations and AgForce Queensland, with support from the AFLWD.

 

To find out more, contact your AFLWD representative in the QLD Working Cattle Dog Trial Association, QLD Working Sheepdog Association, QLD Yard Dog Association or Working Kelpie Council of Australia.

 

----------

 

In South Australia

 

Amendments to the Dog & Cat Management Act were passed by parliament in 2016. These included:

·         Microchipping

o   commencing from a prescribed date in 2018, dog owners will be required to microchip their dogs by (proposed) three months of age.

o   dog owners will be required to keep the microchip details up to date.

o   there will be a transition period so owners can get their dog microchipped.

o   an exemption may apply for a period of time as determined and supported by a veterinarian.

 

·         Desexing

o   dog owners will be required to desex all new generations of dogs born after a prescribed date and by the (proposed) age of six months.

o   working livestock dogs and breeders registered under new section 68 are exempt from this requirement in the Act.  

 

Breeding and selling

anyone who breeds dogs and cats for sale will have to register as a breeder with the Dog and Cat Management Board.

certain information will have to be provided to the buyer.

 

Councils will have greater powers to administer and enforce the Act including increases in some expiations and penalties.

 

Regulations and corresponding standards and guidelines for breeding and trading companion animals are still being finalised.

 

Through the AFLWD, state livestock dog associations and LivestockSA continue to advise policy makers on compliance barriers for livestock dog breeders.

To find out more, contact your AFLWD representative in the SA Working Sheepdog Association, SA Yard Dog Association or Working Kelpie Council of Australia.

 

----------

 

In Victoria

 

In December 2016, the Victorian government withdrew the proposed Domestic Animals Amendment (Puppy Farm and Pet Shops) Bill 2016. It says that amendments to the Bill will be developed in the new year, in consultation with stakeholders, and will be considered by the Parliament in the first half of 2017.

 

The Bill was designed to crack down on puppy farming but came under significant criticism for its impact on responsible dog breeders and local councils as a result of

inadequate community consultation

 

The Victorian Parliament’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee recommended the withdrawal of the Bill. The Committee found that consultation with relevant stakeholders was inadequate and the Bill reflects this. “While there was agreement amongst all stakeholders that unethical breeders should be shut down, the significant lack of consultation undermined the development of the Bill,” Committee Chair Joshua Morris said in a 6 December media release.

 

To take its place, the Committee has recommended that the Victorian Government immediately establish a stakeholder group of industry, municipal and community representatives to consult on the drafting of a new Bill.

 

This follows a strong statement from the Municipal Association of Victoria in November, that the proposed puppy farm reforms would come at significant cost to communities and councils who will be required to enforce the laws. Cr Coral Ross, Interim President of the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) expressed frustration at the Government’s inexcusable failure to consult with local government about the cost impacts and enforceability of the proposed laws.

 

With support from the AFLWD, representatives from the Victorian Yard Utility Farm Dog Association were able to get a fair hearing at the Legislative Council of Victoria enquiry into the Bill in November. Also present was the Secretary of the Livestock Group of the Victorian Farmers’ Federation.

 

To find out more, contact your AFLWD representative in the Victorian Working Sheep Dog Association, Victorian Cattle Dog Trial Association, Victorian Yard Utility Farm Dog Association or Working Kelpie Council of Australia.

 

----------

 

In Western Australia

 

State elections are coming up in March 2017, and animal welfare matters will be in the spotlight.

 

The Labour party has already stated that, if elected, it will introduce mandatory standards for dog breeding and a centralised registration system.

 

With support from the AFLWD and WA Farmers, state based livestock dog associations are meeting with government and animal welfare groups, such as RSPCA WA, to discuss the need for exemptions for livestock working dogs. The goal is to have input to any legislation which is drawn up.

 

To find out more, contact your AFLWD representative in the WA Working Sheepdog Association, WA Yard and Utility Committee or the Working Kelpie Council of Australia.

 

-ends-

 

Animal welfare matters for livestock working dog breeders

- 2016 wrap up

 

By the end of 2016, governments around Australia were at different stages of reviewing legislation and codes relating to animal breeding practices and welfare.

Although the focus is on puppy farming, all dog breeders are affected.

Policy decisions have and can be made without due consideration of practicalities, cost and fairness for livestock working dog breeders. Challenges include:

  • Poor understanding of
    • the differences between a pet dog, a livestock working dog and other types of working dogs
    • the role and value of livestock dogs to the agricultural industry
    • the difference between land owners and stock men and women, the latter who make up the majority of livestock working dog breeders
  • The many opinions and misconceptions around what constitutes good animal husbandry
  • The complexity and inconsistency of legislation between state and local governments and across states
  • Inadequate community consultation by governments which results in decisions skewed to city not farm environments

These challenges mean livestock working dog breeders must have a strong, united and consistent voice across Australia, so their needs and considerations are heard and understood by local, state and national policy makers.

The Australia Federation for Livestock Working Dogs (AFLWD) offers a way to do that. It was created in 2014 to provide an educated source of reliable information on behalf of all Australian livestock dogs and their breeders.

It works by maintaining a national network for state-based livestock dog associations and farmer organisations to:

  • share information
  • learn from each others’ experience
  • work through issues
  • form critical alliances with farmer federations and other groups
  • compile facts and insights to inform and educate their local and state governments.

You can find out more about the Federation on its website and stay in touch by joining its Facebook group

So what’s the current situation of your State’s animal welfare laws at the end of 2016?

 ----------

 

In New South Wales

 

State and local governments are still in the process of responding to recommendations made by the Joint Select Committee on Animal Breeding Practices in 2015, including that:

  • the NSW Animal Welfare Advisory Council review certain sections of the Breeding Cats and Dogs Code such as litter restrictions, mandatory desexing, enclosure specifications, staff-to-animal ratios, training and qualification of breeders
  • the Office of Local Government, local councils and Department of Primary Industries Animal Welfare Unit undertake significant work on the breeders register such as streamlining the registration and microchipping process, centralising data on breeders and considering a breeders’ license scheme

Through the AFLWD, state livestock dog associations are monitoring developments and keeping in contact with NSW government and NSW Farmers.

To find out more, contact your AFLWD representative in the NSW Sheepdog Workers Association, NSW Working Stock Dog Association, NSW Yard Dog Association or Working Kelpie Council.

 

----------

In Queensland

The Animal Management (Protecting Puppies) and other Legislation Amendment Act 2016 was passed and will come into effect in 2017 requiring all dog breeders to be registered.

Registered dog breeders will be given a breeder identification number that must be included in the microchip details of the dog and be displayed when advertising a dog for sale or to be given away.

Primary producers who breed working dogs and accredited breeders of approved entities will be exempt from the registration scheme.

The exemption was the result of successful collaboration between state livestock dog associations and AgForce Queensland, with support from the AFLWD.

To find out more, contact your AFLWD representative in the QLD Working Cattle Dog Trial Association, QLD Working Sheepdog Association, QLD Yard Dog Association or Working Kelpie Council of Australia.

----------

 

In South Australia

 

Amendments to the Dog & Cat Management Act were passed by parliament in 2016. These included:

·         Microchipping

o   commencing from a prescribed date in 2018, dog owners will be required to microchip their dogs by (proposed) three months of age.

o   dog owners will be required to keep the microchip details up to date.

o   there will be a transition period so owners can get their dog microchipped.

o   an exemption may apply for a period of time as determined and supported by a veterinarian.

·         Desexing

o   dog owners will be required to desex all new generations of dogs born after a prescribed date and by the (proposed) age of six months.

o   working livestock dogs and breeders registered under new section 68 are exempt from this requirement in the Act.  

 

  • Breeding and selling
    • anyone who breeds dogs and cats for sale will have to register as a breeder with the Dog and Cat Management Board.
    • certain information will have to be provided to the buyer.
  • Councils will have greater powers to administer and enforce the Act including increases in some expiations and penalties.

 Regulations and corresponding standards and guidelines for breeding and trading companion animals are still being finalised.

Through the AFLWD, state livestock dog associations and LivestockSA continue to advise policy makers on compliance barriers for livestock dog breeders.

To find out more, contact your AFLWD representative in the SA Working Sheepdog Association, SA Yard Dog Association or Working Kelpie Council of Australia.

----------

 

In Victoria

In December 2016, the Victorian government withdrew the proposed Domestic Animals Amendment (Puppy Farm and Pet Shops) Bill 2016. It says that amendments to the Bill will be developed in the new year, in consultation with stakeholders, and will be considered by the Parliament in the first half of 2017.

The Bill was designed to crack down on puppy farming but came under significant criticism for its impact on responsible dog breeders and local councils as a result of inadequate community consultation

The Victorian Parliament’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee recommended the withdrawal of the Bill. The Committee found that consultation with relevant stakeholders was inadequate and the Bill reflects this. “While there was agreement amongst all stakeholders that unethical breeders should be shut down, the significant lack of consultation undermined the development of the Bill,” Committee Chair Joshua Morris said in a 6 December media release.

To take its place, the Committee has recommended that the Victorian Government immediately establish a stakeholder group of industry, municipal and community representatives to consult on the drafting of a new Bill.

This follows a strong statement from the Municipal Association of Victoria in November, that the proposed puppy farm reforms would come at significant cost to communities and councils who will be required to enforce the laws. Cr Coral Ross, Interim President of the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) expressed frustration at the Government’s inexcusable failure to consult with local government about the cost impacts and enforceability of the proposed laws.

With support from the AFLWD, representatives from the Victorian Yard Utility Farm Dog Association were able to get a fair hearing at the Legislative Council of Victoria enquiry into the Bill in November. Also present was the Secretary of the Livestock Group of the Victorian Farmers’ Federation.

To find out more, contact your AFLWD representative in the Victorian Working Sheep Dog Association, Victorian Cattle Dog Trial Association, Victorian Yard Utility Farm Dog Association or Working Kelpie Council of Australia.

----------

 

In Western Australia

State elections are coming up in March 2017, and animal welfare matters will be in the spotlight.

The Labour party has already stated that, if elected, it will introduce mandatory standards for dog breeding and a centralised registration system.

With support from the AFLWD and WA Farmers, state based livestock dog associations are meeting with government and animal welfare groups, such as RSPCA WA, to discuss the need for exemptions for livestock working dogs. The goal is to have input to any legislation which is drawn up.

To find out more, contact your AFLWD representative in the WA Working Sheepdog Association, WA Yard and Utility Committee or the Working Kelpie Council of Australia.