MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has welcomed a request by NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair for a parliamentary inquiry into companion animal breeding practices across the state, most notably illegal puppy factories.
Mr Marshall said the inquiry would review the current situation in NSW, look at regulations in other jurisdictions, consult extensively with industry and stakeholders and make recommendations to the NSW Government on required legislative reform.
“I called for an investigation into the puppy factory industry late last year when revelations of alleged animal mistreatment on properties in the region first came to light,” Mr Marshall said.
“Since then we’ve seen further factories raised by authorities and investigations commenced by the RSPCA and other agencies
“I believe there is more than enough evidence to indicate an overhaul of the current animal welfare system in the industry is needed. That’s why I welcome this inquiry and am looking forward to making my own submission on behalf of communities in the Northern Tablelands.
“At the moment, the industry is impossible to police because we have no idea how many of these operations exist.”
Mr Marshall said the absence of legislation, regulation and monitoring has left dog breeders and buyers in a legal grey area.
“There are a lot of people out there who are breeding dogs; they are in compliance with the rules, doing a fantastic job and are equally concerned about those who totally disregard the welfare of animals and jeopardise an industry,” he said.
“We have seen evidence of this in our region and it is an issue that needs urgent attention. If there have been breaches of the code of practice, then these people need to have the book thrown at them.”
Mr Marshall said the inquiry would investigate the introduction of a breeders’ licensing system; a limit placed on the number of dogs breeders are allowed to keep; the implications of banning the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores and any legislative changes that may be required.
“The NSW Government has already announced an easy, one-step online register will replace the paper-based dog and cat registration system,” Mr Marshall said.
“The new system will assist animal welfare agencies prevent illegal animal breeding practices, such as non-compliant puppy farms, due to the centralisation of data linking animals back to breeders.”
Mr Marshall said the NSW Government would welcome input from all stakeholders into the enquiry, in particular RSPCA NSW.
“As one of the enforcement agencies under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, the NSW Government works closely with RSPCA NSW and will welcome their expertise in this inquiry – this is a very important step towards tangible reform,” he said