Help End Puppy Farm Cruelty (Content warning: upsetting image & descriptions of animal welfare conditions)

The cute puppies frolicking in the window of your local pet shop seem happy. But there is a grim story to how they came to be there.

Victoria’s puppy farms are cruel places. So cruel that the Victorian Coalition government went to the last election promising drastic improvements to the laws governing puppy farms.

But the government’s revised Code of Practice for the Operation of Breeding and Rearing Businesses actually reduces animal welfare standards.

Dogs and cats are sensitive, intelligent animals who feel pain, extreme temperatures, hunger and fear just like humans. Yet in Victoria’s puppy and kitten farms they exist in conditions we wouldn't condone for the most ruthless criminals. This is not the behaviour of a civilised society.

If the revised code becomes law it will worsen the current horrific conditions and appalling situations for dogs as well as cats. The RSPCA’s verdict is damning: ‘this code legalises some of the abhorrent conditions and practices regularly seen by our Inspectors at puppy factories’. (Ironically, Victoria’s premier, Dr Denis Napthine, is a veterinarian by profession.)

Recommendations in the revised code include the following: 
  • If litters of puppies are included, the ratio of carers to animals could be as little as 1:500 outside business hours.
  • ‘Humane’ methods of death aren’t defined, and the minister has said they could include shooting or a blow to the head, causing incredible suffering.
  • There will be no requirement to provide cooling and heating, leading to the possibility of extreme temperatures.
  • Maximum litter numbers for females will be increased while males will have no maximum number.
  • There will be no maximum breeding age or period that an animal could be bred from, so these animals could potentially spend their entire lifetime confined to farms.
  • Breeding between second-generation related animals will be acceptable.
  • Tethering is allowed (except for some categories of breeding females). RSPCA Victoria advises against tethering.
  • The code will allow working dogs to be housed in small raised pens with wire floors.
  • Breeders, rather than vets, will be able to declare an animal fit for sale. Not only do breeders lack the appropriate qualifications to do this, but this may also mean that neither the animal nor the buyer will be protected from post-sale welfare or return issues.

The campaign for animal welfare standards in breeding farms is being spearheaded by RSPCA Victoria – more background can be found here.

The government is calling for feedback on the revised Code of Practice, and the deadline is 9 am on Wednesday 14 August.

Sign the petition!

I’ve created a petition on this issue through GetUp! Please sign the petition to demand that the Victorian Minister for Agriculture, Peter Walsh, include in the code of practice the minimum animal welfare standards recommended by the RSPCA. (It would be great if you could sign before 14 August, but the campaign will continue after this date.)

Please also share the petition on Facebook and Twitter. 

You can also write to the Minister directly and to the Premier, Dr Denis Napthine.

Ultimately puppy and kitten farms should be abolished, and this is the aim of the Oscar’s Law campaign (and RSPCA Victoria). But  in the meantime breeding dogs and cats must be legally protected by meaningful animal welfare standards.

Pet shops and puppy farms

Another way to stamp out cruel puppy farming would be to make it illegal to sell dogs in pet shops.

Dogs in the windows of pet shops encourage impulse purchases from people who have little idea of what looking after a puppy actually entails, and dump them when it gets too much. Hundreds of thousands of companion animals are abandoned each year in Australia. In 2011-12 the RSPCA rescued almost 37,000 dogs and more than 50,000 cats Australia wide; around 38 per cent of those dogs and 50 per cent of the cats were ultimately euthanised.

In other words, many animals are being bred in the prison camp conditions of puppy farms only to ultimately die after being abandoned by their owners.

Petition reminder

Just to remind you, the petition can be signed here.

Please share this far and wide using the social media buttons below.

Until next time!

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