Animals (Regulation of Sale) Bill 2008

Independent lower house MP and Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, introduced this bill to New South Wales parliament in 2007. An updated version of the bill was introduced for debate in 2008. The Legislative Assembly eventually voted against the bill in October 2009.

A large grass roots network of rescuers and animal welfare activists campaigned vigorously in favour of the bill throughout its progress through parliament.

The AVA expressed its concern about some of the measures proposed in the bill early on, communicating both with members and parliamentarians about these issues.

Letter and briefing for members of the Legislative Assembly – 31 March 2008

The AVA stance

Some of the proposed initiatives in this bill were consistent with the AVA position on effective management of unwanted companion animals and the welfare of animals:

  • compulsory microchipping (already mandatory in NSW)
  • mandatory pet care information to be given to purchasers
  • prohibiting sale of animals to children
  • banning the sale of animals from markets.

However, the proposed prohibition of sales from pet shops was unlikely to affect the problem. Most recent data shows that only 8-11 per cent of pets come from pet shops. Banning sales from a visible and easily regulated source like retail outlets may well have driven sales underground to less easily regulated outlets.

The New South Wales Government introduced a revised compulsory Animals in Pet Shops Code of Practice in 2009, which set out mandatory minimum standards around the care and sale of animals in pet shops. The AVA supports this code of practice.

In addition, the bill’s proposed ban of advertising was considered very likely to adversely affect rehoming of companion animals.

A cooperative approach

During 2009, a group of organisations including the AVA, joined forces to express their opposition to the bill. At the same time, a large group of rescue and shelter activists lobbied equally hard in favour of the bill.

The alliance included the AVA NSW Division, ASAVA, Animal Welfare League NSW, Dogs NSW, Pet Industry Association of Australia, the Waratah Cat Alliance and the Sydney Dogs’ and Cats’ Home. The Australian National Kennel Council joined the alliance shortly before the final vote in the lower house that defeated the bill.

The alliance issued joint public statements, ministerial briefing notes, and letters to members of parliament. These emphasised that successful strategies to reduce unwanted animals were urgently needed, but that the bill’s measures would be more harmful than helpful.

Ministerial briefing – 17 February 2009

Public statement – 28 February 2009

After the rejection of the bill in the lower house, the bill’s supporters called for an upper house inquiry into unwanted companion animals. The alliance has instead recommended an independent scientific review similar to the one conducted for the Queensland government by Marston et al from Monash University in 2007.

Briefing to all members of parliament – 30 October 2009

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