NSW government has 'ignored' puppy farm cruelty, say campaigners

Animal welfare supporters have accused the Baird government of turning a "deaf ear" to the "public outcry" surrounding pet cruelty in its response to the parliamentary inquiry into puppy factories.

The government's response to the probe into puppy farms and companion animal breeding practices falls significantly short of reforms adopted across other states.

Fairfax Media can reveal pet breeders will be bound by an improved online registration and identification system designed to weed out rogue operators. Stricter breeder identification details will be required when dogs and cats are advertised for sale in newspapers and online.

However, the government will only commit to further "reviews" into the "adequacy" of penalties, prosecutions and funding of enforcement agencies the RSPCA and Animal Welfare League.

In the meantime, these bodies have been handed a combined $200,000 for a "targeted compliance and educating operation".

The NSW government will respond on Friday to the report's recommendations.

RSPCA NSW chief executive Steven Coleman said on Thursday: "We ... have been pretty vocal about the fact that whatever legislative changes do or do not happen ... unless you have the adequate resources behind it ... it's all pointless."

He added: "My next call is to the Animal Welfare League ... to ask how this is possibly going to work. Because from a compliance perspective, this money won't even touch the sides."

The Animal Justice Party's Mark Pearson, who sat on the joint select committee, pulled no punches in his response saying the NSW government have "brought themselves a curse".

"This is going to come back and bite them hard," he said. "They have shown contempt for what the people want."

In May last year, the NSW government called a parliamentary inquiry into puppy factories and the lucrative industry surrounding the commercial breeding of companion animals.

The move followed a series of investigations by Fairfax Media and Animal rights group Oscar's Law, which exposed hundreds of dogs trapped in squalid prison-like conditions at numerous remote farms across NSW.

The inquiry, announced by NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair, began reviewing existing practices across the state and measures adopted in other jurisdictions, particularly Victoria.

Chair of the committee was Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, who himself had seen four puppy farms raided in his electorate over a 12-month period.

When the committee's findings were released in August, they mirrored recommendations that weren't applied four years ago from a report by the NSW government's Companion Animals Taskforce.

At the top of the list of recommendations was a breeder licensing scheme. On Friday, the Baird government will confirm there is still no appetite for a "stand-alone" breeder licensing program with Mr Blair instead choosing to "redesign" the existing register and registration system in "consultation with key stakeholders".

He said: "The mistreatment of animals in the pet industry is just not on and I want to stamp out these rogue operators – but it is important that we don't punish the breeders who are doing the right thing."

But Mr Pearson cited numerous other "critical issues" that had been "ignored", including a call that would have mandated councils to notify animal protection bodies when development applications are lodged for breeding facilities.

"It's the linchpin ... it's why so many of these problems developed ... because nobody knows where these hideous establishments are. Then they fall off the radar," he said.

Oscar's Law founder Debra Tranter accused the government of continuing to "protect the commercial interest of puppy farmers".

"The government's response to this Inquiry demonstrates that Minister Blair is a 'friend of the industry' not of animal welfare."

The story NSW government has 'ignored' puppy farm cruelty, say campaigners first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide