A better life for puppies and kittens in the ACT

Released 24/03/2015

New legislation to prevent puppy and kitten farms and improve animal welfare standards for animals bred in the ACT was passed with unanimous support in the ACT Legislative Assembly today.

Stemming from the Labor-Greens Parliamentary agreement, the Domestic Animals (Breeding) Legislation Amendment Bill aims to prevent intensive breeding operations that exploit animals for profit and ensure appropriate standards of care for dogs and cats bred in the ACT.

“Intensive breeding facilities (or puppy/kitten farms) are a serious animal welfare issue. We know that the community does not support these cruel and inhumane operations and it is important that we have legislation in place to meet community expectations and prevent them from establishing here in the ACT,” said Mr Rattenbury.

“Female dogs and cats in intensive breeding operations can have a very poor quality of life.  They are often kept in inadequate conditions, and treated purely as industrial breeding machines.  Females may be kept almost permanently pregnant, placing enormous stress on their bodies and then simply destroyed or abandoned when they become too old to produce commercially-viable sized litters.

“As a result of the poor conditions in which they are bred, offspring are likely to suffer congenital defects, a weakened immune system, and as a result, a shorter lifespan.  They may also develop ongoing behavioural issues from a lack of trust in their keepers.

“This legislation criminalises the intensive breeding of female dogs and cats and introduces penalties of up to $15,000 (for an individual) or $75,000 (for a corporation) for those who exploit animals for the pet market.

“New offences include recklessly allowing a dog or cat to breed contrary to a breeding standard, which will be declared following advice from the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee. Breeding standards will cover areas such as frequency of breeding litters and ages at which breeders are permitted to commence breeding female cats and dogs.

“The legislation will also establish a licensing scheme for breeders, which will allow for the inspection of breeders’ premises to ensure animal welfare standards are maintained. .  The scheme will also require licensees to display their breeding licence number in any advertisements that they place for animals they have bred. 

“This will be an important aspect for those wishing to purchase a puppy or kitten - as they will see the licence number and be assured that they are purchasing their pet from a reputable breeder who has met specific standards in the breeding of that animal. 

“This legislation will ensure the ACT has high standards for pet breeding and improve health and welfare outcomes for both female cats and dogs and their offspring.” 

- Statement ends -

Section: Shane Rattenbury, MLA | Media Releases

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