DOGS Victoria Member Update
Much has happened since the last update, but the good news is that, at this stage, we understand that the Domestic Animals Amendment (Puppy Farm and Pet Shops) Bill 2016 (the Bill) is unlikely to be proceed this year. We believe that decision to not push the Bill through in the last few weeks that Parliament is sitting is due in part to our strong campaign and the activism of DOGS Victoria members.
The Parliamentary Review which we successfully lobbied for has also been instrumental in highlighting the many problems with the Bill, with the broad consensus from the majority of witnesses being that the Bill would not achieve its aims, be impossible to administer and overly burdensome on both Councils and breeders.
We have also had positive comments from many MPs commending us on a well-run and strategic campaign, which has seen great media interest from print, radio and television. A recent photo op with a number of service, assistance and working dogs on the steps of Parliament house saw a large contingent of media attend. The upper house parliamentarians Jeff Bourman and Daniel Young (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party) also attended the event and spent some time speaking with DOGS Victoria members over the impact of the Bill.
We have met with a number of upper house parliamentarians and will continue to actively lobby. While the response to our efforts has been very positive, the reality is that we are likely to face a drawn out Parliamentary process, so we need to maintain our momentum and keep up the political pressure through the DOGS Victoria campaign and our lobbying efforts.
Letter from the Minister
Following the Parliamentary Hearings on the 15th November, the Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford wrote to DOGS Victoria to advise us that the Government was putting forward a number of changes to the proposed Bill due to the concerns raised by DOGS Victoria and other stakeholders.
– to create a new ‘recreational breeder’ category,
– to provide an additional 12 months in order to register and become compliant with the Code of Practice for the Operation of Breeding and Rearing Businesses 2014 (the Code) and
– to clarify local planning requirements.
However, these changes do not address our underlying concerns with the Bill. The Minister also made it clear that she would not allow DOGS Victoria to retain its Applicable Organisation exemptions for the purposes of Breeding.
DOGS Victoria is in the process of formally responding to the Minister’s letter, stating that while we support the intent of the Bill and appreciate the Government consulting with us, we do not believe these amendments will sufficiently address our very real concerns.
We have also made a supplementary submission to the Inquiry into the Bill stating that the Government’s subsequent amendments do not alter our recommendations to the Committee.
The Parliamentary Review
The transcripts from the Parliamentary Committee Review of the Bill are available at this link. Feedback so far has been that the Committee was impressed by DOGS Victoria’s evidence and that of other organisations such as the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) and Australian Veterinary Association (AVA). The Committee will table their report on the 6th December 2016 in Parliament. They will most likely have a majority report and minority (dissenting) report. However, the evidence from the Hearings and majority report recommendations by the Committee will no doubt serve to assist the independent MPs in their deliberations of the Bill.
Where to From Here
It is very important that we maintain the pressure and spread the message on why the Bill will have such a detrimental impact on DOGS Victoria members. While many DOGS Victoria members have spoken to their local council and parliament members already, we need to continue talking to these people and really highlight that the Government’s proposed amendments still do not address the fundamental problems with the Bill
DOGS Victoria has produced a position paper to help us in briefing MPs and other stakeholders about our concerns with the Bill. A copy of that is found here for DOGS Victoria members’ information and to assist when speaking to your local member of parliament and elected council officers. It also has some fast facts and figures from the recent survey of DOGS Victoria members which may also be of interest.
A few people have asked about DOGS Victoria organising a protest rally. The answer to this is that we do not support a broad scale protest at this point in time. We are generating excellent interest with our current messaging and campaign strategy, and to hold a protest rally now would actually undermine what we have achieved and give those who support the Bill a platform to oppose us. However, there will be events held next year to champion our message in a positive way, so stay tuned for announcements closer to the dates.
While the intentions of this Bill are to be commended, in practice we strongly believe it will not succeed. We need time to consult and find a workable system that will achieve the end goals, while ensuring that best practice in breeding, raising and finding suitable homes for well-bred dogs and cats, are maintained. We are more than willing to work with government at both local and state levels in finding a solution that sees the intent of the Bill realised. However, we cannot, in the meantime, support this deeply flawed legislation, which will have an impact on DOGS Victoria members.
For more information regarding DOGS Victoria’s campaign please go to