Pet protection

The images that have emerged from Monday’s raid on the “puppy farm” near Strathalbyn are distressing.
We are a culture that likes to keep pets, with many of us considering them part of the family.
Even man’s worst enemy is incarcerated in better conditions in Australia than man’s best friend was kept at this property.
The RSPCA’s new chief executive in SA, Tim Vasudeva, cuts to the heart of the matter when he points out that this case highlights the lack of scrutiny and the lack of accountability for breeders supplying Australia’s $6billion pet industry.
According to the RSPCA, euthanasia rates for unwanted and dumped dogs and cats and poor breeding practices are two of this country’s most significant animal welfare issues.
RSPCA shelters take in about 120,000 dogs and cats every year, with about a quarter of the dogs and about half the cats having to be put down.
In SA the shelters took in about 8200 animals last year and more than 3000 had to be put down.
This peak animal welfare body lays the blame squarely on the under regulated “commodification” of the dog and cat “companion animal” industry.
Our desire for that cute and cuddly puppy or kitten has led to an oversupply of animals with some unscrupulous breeders resorting to practices that can only be likened to factory farming where female animals are keep in cages and continually pregnant.
Some so called puppy farms are worse than others, as evidenced by this week’s raid, but we all play a part in feeding demand.
If the RSCPA and animal welfare groups have their way, all breeders – even the owners of a single entire animal who have no intention of breeding – should be registered.
Compulsory breeder standards should be developed and compliance monitored and micro chipping of dogs and cats should be compulsory.
Micro chipping might be going too far, given the cost, but it should be noted that Australia’s livestock industry has an identification system that can track an animal’s journey from paddock to plate.
This was brought in to ensure the health and safety of the population.
Why can’t an identification system be brought in to ensure the health and safety of our pets?
If people want to do something to prevent puppy farms, they should avoid impulse purchases of animals and, if a pet is definitely what they want, they should go to a reputable breeder where they can see where the animal was born.
Better yet, adopt a shelter dog or cat which desperately needs a home.