The use of the word ‘pet’ when referring to animals under our care, reinforces the idea of a relationship based on ownership. While under the law, companion animals are still classed as property, by changing our language to use the term companion animal instead of ‘pet’ we acknowledge the animal as an individual with independent status.
Pet Shops, Puppy Farms, and Pounds
Each year around 200,000 healthy companion animals are killed in pounds and shelters around Australia, while the demand for purpose-bred kittens, puppies and other animals continues to rise. This is because:
- there is high demand for certain breeds
- consumers want cute, baby animals like kittens and puppies, instead of adult animals
- there is a lack of understanding about the conditions breeding animals face
- people are not aware of the variety of breeds, temperaments and ages of animals looking to be re-homed in shelters.
Pounds and shelters see an influx of baby animals particularly in the weeks and months after Christmas. Animals are purchased on impulse and given as gifts, without consideration of the responsibilities that come with having a companion animal.
Shelters end up killing healthy animals due to lack of space and homes willing to take in abandoned animals.
Animal Liberation Tasmania would like to see a transition to allow animals to only be adopted from shelters, rather than purchased as commodities from animal shops, puppy farms and backyard breeders.
Puppy farms and breeders should be outlawed. There is no necessity in the continual breeding cycle this industry perpetuates. Companion animal shops should be banned from selling animals, and shelters should adopt a no-kill policy.
De-sexing of companion animals should be mandatory to prevent unregulated over-breeding and selling, and to prevent the killing of healthy animals in shelters that cannot find homes.
How Can You Help
- Do not purchase and animals from a companion animal shop, breeder, and online breeding operations. Sites such as Gumtree.com.au make it easy for the number of backyard breeding operations to grow.
- Visit your local shelter or farm sanctuary to adopt your new family member. Encourage those in your life to do the same.
- Lobby your state and federal MPs to introduce legislation that outlaws these practices
- Encourage your local animal shelters to adopt a no-kill policy
Animal Liberation Tasmania will work hard in the future on different campaigns to raise awareness around the variety of issues faced by companion animals. Here is a brief overview of some other areas of concern.
- Caged native and exotic birds
- Theft of companion animals for dog fighting
- Fish confined in tanks
- Native animals collected as pets