Voice your pet peeves about the Companion Animals Taskforce discussion paper

by Tahnae Goldsworthy

Local Macarthur Chronicle
12 Jun 12 @ 11:00am

Chronicle photographer and animal advocate Robert Pozo, Camden state Liberal MP Chris Patterson and Camden councillor Lara Symkowiak hand over their submissions to the Minister for Local Government Don Page and Companion Animals Taskforce chairman Andrew Cornwell, Charlestown state Liberal MP>

Chronicle photographer and animal advocate Robert Pozo, Camden state Liberal MP Chris Patterson and Camden councillor Lara Symkowiak hand over their submissions to the Minister for Local Government Don Page and Companion Animals Taskforce chairman Andrew Cornwell, Charlestown state Liberal MP


CAMDEN state Liberal MP Chris Patterson wants the community to show some puppy love and have a say on pet policies.

Residents have until July 1 to register their opinion about the state government’s Companion Animals Taskforce discussion paper.

Put together by the Companion Animals Taskforce, chaired by Charlestown state Liberal MP Andrew Cornwell, the document features more than 60 recommendations about addressing euthanasia rates, poor pet breeding outfits such as puppy farms, micro-chipping and desexing. Mr Patterson said recent figures showed in the past five years 150,000 dogs and cats in NSW were put down and and acknowledged there was a problem with puppy farms in the region.

“It’s a problem in every area but the problem we have is we don’t really know how big a problem it is,” he said.

“Everybody I speak to – animal shelters, council rangers, local vets – acknowledge this is going on. It is not an epidemic but it is certainly going on in our area.”

Mr Patterson, Camden councillor Lara Symkowiak and Macarthur Chronicle photographer and animal activist Robert Pozo gave their submissions to Local Government Minister Don Page recently.

Cr Symkowiak said her submission included support for introducing a breeder licensing system.

“I would encourage everyone who is interested in animals and cares about their welfare to make a submission,” she said.

“The more submissions the state government gets, the more chance there is for change.”

Mr Pozo agreed. “I’m backing the charge to get people to speak up and make changes,” he said.


Paul Archer writes:
Posted on 13 Jul 12 at 10:36am

Whilst the Taskforce is stacked with mainly groups with vested interests in the pet industry, and until today have never shown any interest in the problem of pound killing, I am sceptical as to the evntual outcomes. Please prove me wrong. The fact is that it has taen hem over 12 months since the Taskforce was announced, whilst another 50,000 died, such is yheir urgency on the matter. I will wager nothing will come out that will impact negatively on the business interests of the pet industry.

Animal Rights and Rescue group writes:
Posted on 9 Jul 12 at 07:40pm

Animal Rights & Rescue a No-Kill group founded 1995 in a vast rural region, RSPCA closed branch here 1994 and took funds to central fund. We work with 3 local pounds taking unclaimed animals resulting with a low kill rate for these pounds and unwanted animals directly from the public. Animals live in foster homes until work done or ready to be rehomed. ARRG is political and has been involved in taking the issue to all local members and making submissions. So many accurate comments have been made here. We met with Minister Don Page December 2nd in Ballina (his local) alerting him of issues with supporting material about the vested interests of the Taskforce so he can’t claim he didn’t know. ARRG went through the same submission process with the drafting of the Companion Animal Act 1998 and the Companion Animal Committee included the same vested bodies and history shows the Act failed its objective to stop the killing, only passed the dodgy compulsory microchipping! 13 years later it’s not enforced and councils not answerable to anyone! Animal neglect in pounds not addressed because the draft Code for pounds 1998 was never passed!!we need it now & No-Kill need to be on Taskforce!

Paul Archer writes:
Posted on 8 Jul 12 at 06:10pm

Sadly, I am not overly optimistic about what will come out of the Taskforce. A committee comprising in the main groups with strong vested interests in maintaining the financial position of the pet industry was a very poor choice in the first place. I doubt the 2 ministers involved would understand the politics of the matter. That the discussion paper made not one mention of the US led No Kill Equation speaks volumes about the lack of knowledge or interest of the majority of Taskforce members. Those with the right answers would have been drowned out. It will be over a year before any strategies will eventuate – another 50,000 dead for no reason. Do they really care? Past (in) actions by these groups would suggest not. I truly hope I am wrong, but I anticipate that we will see: higher fees for registering your pets, more expensive beaurocracy with Councils saying they haven’t the resources to follow up, lots of dollars going to ACAC members to “do more (un-necessary) research” and “education” (that has never worked…), more power to Dogs NSW. I do think that breeding by registered breeders will come about ( as for cats now in Tasmania) , and maybe a pet bond for renters. Let;s see.

Leonie writes:
Posted on 6 Jul 12 at 10:41am

Educating the public on ‘responsible pet ownership’ will help starting with schools. Make this topic compulsory in a subject and hopefully the children will nag their parents into desexing their pets. Also why is their no financial assistance for rescue groups who spend many long hard hours looking after these animals desexing them out of their pockets and finding loving homes. There should be a set low price for all vets for desexing and microchipping with financial packages from the government. Also promote this on TV and radio etc. If rescue groups and no kill shelters were on the task force then this would had been included and the interest and welfare of the animals would had been heard.

peter writes:
Posted on 4 Jul 12 at 08:01am

No-one wants to see mass euthanasia of animals. But no-kill shelters only deal with half the problem. When there is so much unregulated breeding, the supply side of the equation must be addressed. My proposal is a 5-year moratorium on all breeding and sale of dogs and cats from anywhere other than an approved shelter. Or until every cage in every shelter is empty. This would have the effect of closing down puppy farms & backyard breeders.

Furthermore, I would have mandatory courses and licences for anyone wanting to own an animal. Any animal. The main problem with surrenders is that people haven’t considered the upkeep needed for their pet, or how to train their animal. At present, any person of any age or circumstance can purchase an animal. That has to end.

If this affects registered breeders I don’t care. Anyone who breeds animals in country where there is an oversupply of 250,000 a year is part of the problem.

Karen writes:
Posted on 3 Jul 12 at 10:49pm

The Companion Animal Taskforce was set up for who may I ask?? Certainly not for the animals it is supposed to protect. In NSW alone close to 50,000 animals are euthanised annually. It has taken the the Taskforce close to 9 months to prepare a draft report and it will be serveral months later before a final report is received; so while the Taskforce was debating a further 50,000 animals were/will die… Taskforce members, what is your response to this, do you even care… Basically the Taskforce is a stacked vested interest body and interested in maintaining the status quo. So where to from here, many of us prepared response submissions, we hope and pray our word will be heard, however the reality is that it most likely will not. However that will not stop us trying, as our heart is with these animals.

Lynette Shanley writes:
Posted on 3 Jul 12 at 01:43pm

I do not see success from this task force mainly because it focuses on pet shops and breeders that breed for money. I know these puppy farms are cruel and some pet shops not very nice. However the scope of the task force paper seems to be very narrow because it does not focus on animals bred by everyday citizens who do not get their animals desexed. In fact, animals bred by friends, families and neighbours, seems to have gone under the radar. One survey in America found the greatest number of pets handed over to pounds came from people who had obtained pets from families and friends. This source of unwanted animals outstripped all other sources. People let their animals breed and put pressure on friends and family to take them. The task force paper does not address this source of unwanted animals. Affordable desexing is the only way to cut down on the unwanted animals but when I wrote about this I was told education would solve all problems. It does not. 6 South Aust councils are supporting the work of Cats Assistance To Sterilise. They have sterilised more than 100,000 cats over the last 20 years. Think of all the euthanasia that has not taken place because of their work.

christy writes:
Posted on 3 Jul 12 at 11:54am

Tony this problem is one we hear nearly on a daily basis. There is no overseeing body that people can report abuse or misconduct within the pounds and shelters. This allows systematic abuse to occur on a regular basis. There is a number of organisations that have been reported to us and there is nobody to make sure that the DPI or RSPCA are brought into line with the expectations of the community and the law. I do believe that a member of parliament was looking at setting up a equivalent to the ACCC for animal welfare to report to but like anything to do with animal welfare it will be a long time coming.

Gayl Deveney writes:
Posted on 3 Jul 12 at 11:48am

I had once wanted to volunteer with the RSPCA, until I found out they do euthanize the animals. I was horrified so decide to volunteers at a non kill shelter. It amazes me that RSPCA can spend millions of dollars on wonderful new premises which according to the volunteers is not satisfacory. But they still have a kill list; so why couldn’t they spend the wasted money on the animals welfare and instead of killing the animals, find them new forever homes. It seems to me that it is easier to kill the animals than to relocate them to foster care or to non kill shelters. These shelters have been doing it very tough with buggar all financial assistance to help them. Once again it;s all about the Pet Industry looking good in the eyes of the public, while in the background couldn’t give a stuff about the animals. I’d also like to know why non kill and rescue groups were not asked to be involved in the TF. zit seems to me that the big boys want to look good while lining their pockets and the backbone of the rescue groups are pleading for help and money. This TF is a farce!!

Jenny Storaker writes:
Posted on 3 Jul 12 at 08:22am

Why were no rescue groups, or people, involved in no kill or low kill rescue and animal welfare, invited to participate in the Taskforce. There are many people in rescue who have been involved in rescue for decades and have an excellent handle on past and current issues of companion animal welfare. Why is the member of parliament who is responsible for companion animal welfare not sitting on the Taskforce. Why are animals at some pounds sleeping on the ground with barely anything to keep them warm and no facilities at the pound to wash blankets and dog jackets. We need minimum standards at any facility that cares for animals and we need them monitored. Mandatory and low cost desexing needs to be very high on the agenda. The composition of the Taskforce is extremely concerning. Vets (bar a very few), members of petfood industry are involved in animal care: They are not involved in animal welfare. RSPCA has extremely concerning kill rates. Rescue groups work with the most disempowered, abused and neglected groups of animals and are aware of the political issues that affect these animals. Surely these people would be better advocates for animals in the Taskforce arena.

Pam Holmes writes:
Posted on 3 Jul 12 at 07:40am

This Task Force is made up of the same vested interest groups who have failed in the past to make any impact into the killing of so many of our companion animals.

“Coal Face” rescue groups across AU are outraged that yet again they have been ignored, yet these groups have been picking up the pieces for many many years. Why are their no non kill groups represented on this TF?

Cant really be bothered to add more, many submissions are in from rescue groups around NSW but we hold little faith that while this “stacked deck” task force consists of industry groups with big money earners at the helm , we will NOT see any progress yet again.

David Rose writes:
Posted on 2 Jul 12 at 07:40pm

4 years ago it was proposed to have a full investigation into the Pet Industry, it’s structure and the cross engagement of the various stakeholders and the NSW Government. It is believed that this will uncover years of industry participation, conflict of interest and at the worst corruption at the DPI

At the time it was thought Corruption? DPI? That’s pretty far fetched?

Then not 2 years later MP McDonald and the DPI was disgraced with multiple levels of corruption.

The Pet Industry is a smart, multi faceted and highly organised conglomerate of businesses . . . This include Industry Bodies made up of it’s members, training organisations that talk up animal management, but promote industry doctrine, vets, chip registration companies and other product suppliers.

They work together to lobby government opinion and ensure that a fresh supply of animals continues to on the market . this means revenue.

This is nothing new and exactly how any successful business sector works.

No one trusts that this taskforce review is anything more than an exercise in pretence with loaded questions already designed to give an outcome. Smart marketing.

Investigate the Pet Industry

Anne Greenaway writes:
Posted on 2 Jul 12 at 06:45pm

It is my view that the Taskforce was established with the specific purpose of not finding particular strategies to reduce the current rate of companion animal euthanasia. The Companion Animals Taskforce is stacked with vested interests whose primary concern is not animal welfare.

My view is this is exactly the outcome the Taskforce set out to achieve, minimal tokenistic strategies to reduce the euthanasia rates.

I suggest that Ministers Page and Hodgkinson and all members of the Taskforce visit a local pound to witness the killing of cats and dogs on the next scheduled kill day. They should repeat this every week for the next 12 months. Maybe then they might appreciate the seriousness of the problem and realise that there is not something “wrong” with these discarded cats and dogs. What is wrong is that the killing has been allowed to continue for so long and those organisations holding themselves out as “protecting and caring” for the animals have betrayed them unconscionably.

More details here


christy writes:
Posted on 2 Jul 12 at 12:19pm

this taskforce is a farce and set up with the very same people who have a vested interest in not seeing shelters and pounds adopt a non kill status. I have just put in a submission on this taskforce. One of the things they have been asked to look into is the Euthanasia rates and rehoming options for surrendered or abandoned companion animals. Everyone one of these people have been in the industry for a long time some over 40 years and have killed 250,000 animals around australia every year and have not seen fit to change or to follow other countries and bring their pounds to non kill instead they have now ramped up the kill with supa pounds that countract for millions of dollars from councils to kill their animals instead of turning those council to non kill. They have done nothing to address the breeding of thousands of surplus animals some in the cruelest of conditions in puppy and kitten farms. Where are the rescue groups that are non kill why arent they represented on this taskforce they are the ones who have shown how it is done and they along with the public have changed two huge kill pounds to none kill not any of those on the taskforce who have the power but choose kill.

Kathryn writes:
Posted on 2 Jul 12 at 11:19am

The oversupply of companion animals, corrresponds to the increasingly high rates of the killing of healthy animals. The RSPCA has an extraordinarily high kill rate of animals supposedly in their care. This needs a transparent investigation. It is time the RSPCA adopted a zero-kill policy. They have a huge amount of funds, it seems they lack the incentive to implement a policy which saves lives. It is interesting to notice the taskforce is primarily composed of groups with vested interests in the Pet Industry, the lack of rescue groups, and those who save animals from euthanasia is concerning. The taskforce must ban puppy and kitten farms, the sale of animals in pet shops, and backyard breeders who all contribute to the oversupply of companion animals. Rescue shelters need more funds to maximize the work they do in saving and rehoming animals.

Derek writes:
Posted on 2 Jul 12 at 06:52am

Whilst there is a committee, it is largely made of the industry . . and though there 2 good points raised, stopping back yard breeders and rental support, there is also much focus on revenue raising methods.

The request does little to call out methods for the reduction in front end pet overpopulation. That anyone can sell pets to anyone who has money, they sell them undesexed so that they have babies, those babies end up repeating the cycle and flood our pounds.

Solution, anyone who sells a pet must sell them desexed and registered. End of profit and problem.

There is a conflict of interest in allowing the Profit making Pet Industry so much power and influence in government legislation.

They ask about raising the cost of registration . . what has happened to the 5.8m collected annually every year in registrations in NSW? Much of this seems to have gone into consolidated revenues, admin, or even pro-industry supporting activities.

The worst thing that can happen is that some voluntary, weak arm waving propaganda fluff is put in place to feign interest in doing something . . by doing nothing, losing us this vital opportunity.

Derek writes:
Posted on 2 Jul 12 at 06:45am

this form doesnt work

Tony Twining writes:
Posted on 27 Jun 12 at 03:21pm

I was a volunteer at the Shoalhaven Animal Shelter and Pound, a facility so poorly resourced that routine breaches of the DPI codes of practice and arbitrary killing are inevitable. I ceased working at the facility when it appeared that a young, disgruntled RSPCA employee, a euthanasia technician, had killed a dog out of spite. Staff were not aware of the Companion Animals Taskforce, and when I asked a member of the RSPCA Executive why the Society had not publicised it in the members’ magazine “Animals” she replied, “It’s not ours.”



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