NSW MPs have called on the state government to introduce mandatory licensing for dog and cat breeders and ban dodgy interstate operators from selling pets.
A parliamentary committee set up to end appalling conditions in so-called puppy factories released its final report on Thursday, with 34 recommendations including requiring sellers to identify an animal’s breeder and microchip.
The committee’s chair, Nationals MP Adam Marshall, said a state-wide licence scheme would help regulators understand the extent and nature of breeding operations.
“We don’t currently have in this state an idea of how many facilities are out there, how many are compliant, how many are not, because many of these facilities haven’t required development approval,” he told reporters.
Licences mean enforcement bodies like the RSPCA will be able to conduct more proactive spot checks, he said.
But the committee has stopped short of calling for a ban on sales of dogs and cats in suburban pet shops, saying this could weaken scrutiny and push sales underground.
The state’s first Animal Justice Party MP, Mark Pearson, who was on the committee, conceded the measures sought wouldn’t satisfy everyone in the animal welfare movement.
“(But) it is clearly a very significant and measurable step in the right direction,” Mr Pearson said.
Mr Marshall said the measures recommended in the report were designed to ensure unscrupulous breeders couldn’t sidestep tough regulations simply by crossing the border.
“I’m very sure puppies that are bred here were being exported to other states, and there is massive inconsistency within the laws in all states,” he said.
“Whilst we don’t have the power to change that, we did recommend that the government work very closely with other states to ensure a nationally consistent scheme.”