Oscar’s Law Victory in Victoria
Last week Australia saw a terrific victory for one of the world’s most tenacious, dedicated campaign groups against the cruelties of the puppy industry – Oscar’s Law.
The passing in the Victorian Parliament of the Puppy Farm and Pet Shop Bill means that for the first time, it will be illegal in an Australian state to sell puppies and kittens in pet shops. But this victory is more than a retail ban because in addition, the breeding facilities themselves are brought under scrutiny and will need to comply with strict new regulations. There is also to be a breeder registration scheme. It’s this concerted approach – tackling both the retail end of the puppy business at the same time as controlling the places of breeding and including a way to register and trace breeders/sellers that marks this victory out as something the world can learn from.
The cap on numbers of breeding dogs that will be permitted is still high – 50 – but to have 50 breeding dogs, breeders will need to meet strict requirements which currently, most puppy factories would never meet. And Oscar’s Law are the group to know as their founder, Debra Tranter has been going into these places for years seeing the conditions. Her first visit to a puppy farm was 24 years ago.
Some Australian puppy farms have up to 350 dogs, so for there to be any cap at all is good news, and for most it’s expected it will be just 10 dogs that they’ll be permitted. It’s hoped that it will make the business model of large scale puppy breeding unsustainable. And the focus will be firmly on welfare, not profit which is the current position.
As well as the pet shop ban and attention to the breeding facilities, there’s the important detail of the Pet Exchange Register which will have legal standing. Breeders will need to be on it and online sellers display this evidence. This means a level of consumer protection, traceability and accountability will be in place for the first time.
I’ve always supported the impressive work of Debra and her team (in my second book, Saving One More, Debra shares her experiences of going into puppy factories). I’ve closely followed the hard work that’s brought about the passing of this bill. The details that have been included close off many of the loopholes that a simple retail ban would leave open.This is what I hope others around the world will see is needed if effective changes are to happen for breeding dogs and their puppies. This is not a simple retail ban, it has many aspects to it and reflects the industry we are all battling against.
The work goes on to roll it out across Australia. It looks like Western Australia may be the next to bring in something similar. If the battle to get this passed is an indicator of what lies ahead for that to happen, Debra and all campaigners involved need all the well wishes and support possible. This Bill was passed by just 2 votes. It was tight.
You can read more about Debra’s dog, Oscar who inspires her and many thousands of true campaigners, in this article: the marvellous Oscar