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Our Positions

Ethics

AWLQ seeks to make all its decisions on an ethical model based on respect for all living beings, fairness and integrity.

Companion Animals

Care of Companion Animals

AWLQ believes that all animals have inherent value, regardless of their usefulness to humans. All companion animals should have quality of life based on their needs. We should strive to accommodate these needs and to recognise that these needs may be different from human needs.

Zero Euthanasia of healthy and treatable cats and dogs

AWLQ believes that cats and dogs feel pleasure and pain and value their lives. It is therefore unethical to continue to allow inappropriate breeding and abandonment of healthy and treatable cats and dogs, which become stray or feral, or are killed in pounds and shelters.
AWLQ believes that zero euthanasia of 90% of all stray and surrendered cats and dogs in a whole city or shire can be achieved by preventing irresponsible breeding and ownership and saving the lives of existing abandoned animals.
All stakeholders (state and local governments, pet industry, breeders, veterinarians, animal welfare organisations, wildlife organisations) need to work co-operatively to develop and implement solutions.
Based on the programs introduced in the Gold Coast City which have resulted in effective reductions in euthanasia rates, AWLQ has developed the Getting to Zero Community Change Model which is applicable to any city or shire.
See Getting to Zero Model

Companion Animal Legislation

AWLQ promotes the development of companion animal welfare legislation that supports quality of life for all companion animals according to their needs and capacities and the prevention of unwanted animals.
A staged introduction of Responsible Breeding Legislation includes:

  • Enforceable Animal Welfare Codes of Practice for Breeders of pure and mixed breeds, Pet Shops, Pounds and Shelters with unannounced animal welfare inspections. Codes of Practice should enable flexibility for individual cases so that the best welfare of each animal can be achieved.
  • A requirement for all breeders and sellers of animals including Council pounds and refuges to desex and microchip all animals prior to sale or transfer, (with desexing exemption if sold or transferred to a person with a government permit for breeding, or showing or breed potential, or for veterinary authorised health exemptions). Government breeder permit numbers, microchipping and desexing certificates should be required to be provided with all animals sold or transferred.
  • A requirement for all Local Government pounds to have a Domestic Animal Management Plan with a focus on reducing killing of unwanted animals
  • An adequate funding model e.g. through a small general rates levy or registration of cats and dogs at point of sale or transfer, to be used for animal welfare/management to support low cost/no cost desexing for disadvantaged members of the community, inspections of breeding and selling establishments, pounds and shelters, for community education, and development of other strategies to prevent stray and abandoned animals, and nuisance and safety issues in the community and improve animal welfare.
  • State-wide community education which raises awareness of the needs of animals and their care, and the prevention of unwanted animals and their destruction, promotes desexing and microchipping of cats and dogs, and other responsible care requirements to keep animals safe and happy.
  • Collection and dissemination of standardised statistics across all pounds and shelters nationally, and use of these statistics to track and maintain progress in reducing the number of abandoned animals
  • In addition, we support current dog and cat owners being required to desex their cats and dogs, unless they acquire a government permit to breed, or for showing or breed potential, or have a veterinary authorised exemption for animal health reasons.

Early Age Desexing

AWLQ supports early age desexing of cats and dogs from 8 weeks of age.
AWLQ desexes at 8 weeks or 1 kilo in weight for kittens and 2 kilos in weight for pups.
Research and practice over the last 30 years has shown that early age desexing between 8 – 12 weeks is just as safe as desexing at a later stage, is less stressful on the animal, and prevents unwanted litters being born.
A cat can be pregnant by 5 months of age; and a dog by 6 months. Between 40 – 100% of cats and kittens and 20 – 50% of dogs are being euthanased in pounds and shelters because there are too many for the responsible homes available.
We support the use of pain-killing medication as part of standard desexing surgery procedure.

Identification

AWLQ supports identification of all cats and dogs. Microchipping prior to sale or transfer is essential.
We also support an animal wearing a tag with contact details on a collar, provided the collar is well-fitted (and elasticised for cats), so that neighbours are able to quickly reunite cats with their owners.

Registration of cats and dogs

AWLQ supports a legislated requirement to register cats and dogs at point of sale or transfer to provide the services of returning lost animals to their owners and providing inspection and education services to improve animal welfare and prevent nuisance and safety issues in the community.
As these services benefit both owners and non-owners of companion animals, AWL also supports a small levy e.g. $1 per year, on all ratepayers to provide companion animal management services.

Enclosures

AWLQ supports keeping cats, dogs and wildlife safe and happy. This means that cats and dogs should be kept on their owner’s property (unless under owner’s supervision and control), with access to food, water, shelter, comfort, company, exercise and play to meet their individual needs. This means preferably keeping cats and dogs with access to indoors and outdoors, and provision of an outdoor enclosure within the property or a cat safe fence to prevent dogs and cats wandering out of their owner’s property, protect them from being killed or injured by cars, other animals, being lost or trapped and impounded, and to provide corridors for wildlife to move around safely.

Managing stray and "feral" cats

AWLQ supports the prevention of stray and feral animals through education and legislation for desexing and microchipping prior to sale or transfer, development of residential building policies that includes appropriate fencing, including cat safe fencing to keep cats safe on their own property.
While this legislation is being implemented, all local governments should have policies which enable the reuniting of stray cats with their owners i.e.

  • Promoting that finders of stray cats should contact owners if the animal has a tag,
  • Contacting Animal Management Officers who scan the animal for a microchip, assist with the return of the animal directly to the owner where possible, and
  • If not possible to return the animal home, Councils keep the animal safely and comfortably housed for several days at a well-publicised pound or shelter, and on a Lost and Found website, so that owners have the best opportunity to locate their lost animal. If not reclaimed, policies should allow the finder to adopt the animal, or place the animal in a re-homing program for a reasonable fee to cover costs of desexing and microchipping.

“Feral” animals require an altogether different kind of intervention to give them quality of life. AWLQ is exploring the legal, welfare, wildlife and community impacts of un-owned/free-roaming/feral cats and is interested in developing appropriate strategies to give equal consideration to their lives which may include, trap/neuter/return strategies and recruiting and training foster carers to socialise cats for adoption.

Pet Shops

  • Pet shops should be subject to a State government Animal Welfare Code of Practice, which includes unannounced inspections, and only be able to re-home animals on behalf of a refuge or pound, or sell cats and dogs from a breeder with a government permit number which must be provided to the consumer.
  • All animals being transferred into the pet shop should be required by law to be a minimum of 8 weeks of age, desexed, microchipped, vaccinated wormed, flea-treated and health checked.
  • All pet shops must provide a set period during which the new owner can return an animal for re-homing, if the animal doesn’t settle in or is not suitable. All pet shops must have adequate space to house animals, including returned animals,  and training to provide for each animal’s needs for food, water, comfort, socialisation, exercise, play, disease prevention and health care.

Selling of birds, reptiles, fish, turtles, mice and other smaller animals
AWLQ is opposed to the selling of caged birds, reptiles, fish, turtles and other smaller animals due to the inability to adequately cater for their needs in confinement.
Pre-Adoption interviews and information for new owners
AWLQ supports a legislated requirement for all breeders and sellers of animals to provide a standardised pre-adoption interview to assess the purchasers’ knowledge and capacity to responsibly care for an animal.  Information should also be provided on the responsible care of animals to all purchasers. We also support property inspections and follow-up visits/contact and the provision of after-sale support.  If an animal can no longer be cared for by the purchaser the breeder or seller should take responsibility for the care and rehoming of the animal.

Breeding

AWLQ believes it is the breeder’s responsibility to ensure the well-being of all breeding animals and their litters, and that breeders play a key role in preventing neglect, abandonment and overpopulation of companion animals.
Breeders Must:

  • Demonstrate the capacity to provide for the best welfare of animals in their care including good health, socialisation, exercise and play.
  • Have comprehensive knowledge of breeding and rearing of young animals, including costs and potential difficulties
  • Be committed to finding responsible homes for the animals they breed and for their breeding animals; and to rehome should the new owners be unable to keep their animals
  • Not breed animals of the same or similar breed type to those being euthanased in pounds and shelters due to shortage of responsible homes 
  • Breeders should be regulated to ensure the well-being of animals in their care and to reduce impacts on animals and the community due to poor breeding or contributing to an oversupply.
  • Anyone who keeps an entire animal for breeding purposes should be required to have a State Government Breeder Permit, subject to an enforceable Animal Welfare Code of Practice and unannounced inspections by government-authorised Animal Welfare officers.
  • This Code of Practice should cover maximum breeding rate, feeding, shelter, comfort, socialisation with people and other animals, veterinary care, play and exercise, and age at which an animal can be removed from its mother and siblings to ensure the needs of animals are met.
  • Breeders must be required to assess and educate prospective new owners for the appropriate care of companion animals.
  • This Code of Practice must also require breeders to microchip all animals and register the animal on a microchip database; and desex all animals that are not being sold to a person with a government permit for breeding or showing & breed potential, or if the health of animal was in jeopardy.

Puppy Farming

AWLQ is strongly opposed to the large scale breeding of puppies or kittens. AWLQ believes that cats and dogs are not merchandise to be bred for profit. As thinking, feeling beings, cats and dogs cannot be appropriately cared for in large scale breeding establishments.
With the numbers of animals in pounds and shelters needing homes, breeding of kittens and puppies, particularly those breeds over-represented in pounds and shelters should be reduced.

Greyhounds

Due to a myriad of welfare and social issues associated with greyhound racing as well as the killing of large numbers of dogs deemed unprofitable either before or after a career in racing, AWLQ urges a ban on greyhound racing in Australia.

Community Responsibility for unwanted cats and dogs

AWLQ believes that the community needs to be made aware of the current level of abandonment of cats and dogs and be provided with the solutions through education and support programs, guided by proactive animal welfare legislation.

Education

AWLQ believes that education is an essential part of securing a brighter future for all animals.
Education programs must highlight the causes of abandoned companion animals and the solutions; and educate current and future companion animal caretakers about socially responsible animal care. Our school programs span the entire educational spectrum offering learning opportunities for students from Prep to Year 12.
We believe that the community needs to be informed about the numbers of stray and abandoned animals killed in pounds and shelters in their community and how to be involved in the solutions.
The community can be informed through media reports, advertising, campaigns, events, school education, refuge tours, newsletters, brochures and DVDs.

Harness

AWLQ supports the use of a harness and lead for the walking of dogs and cats.

Check Chains

AWLQ does not support the use of metal check chains. However we do support the use of soft control collars with some appropriate training in their use, if a dog is difficult to manage.

Electric Shock Collars

AWLQ is opposed to the use of electric shock collars for behaviour management of dogs. Dogs are sensitive beings who will respond to positive care and training as long as their needs are also being met.

Dogs In Utes

AWLQ is opposed to the carrying of dogs in the back of an open vehicle unless protected in an enclosed cage securely attached to the vehicle. The cage must not cramp the dog, should be well-covered for protection from the sun, wind and rain, and be placed behind the cabin to minimise exposure to dust and wind.

Training Techniques

AWL supports positive training techniques using praise, positive touch, and food rewards.
Use of animals for teaching activities
AWL Qld only supports the use of animal in teaching when the animal directly benefits from that teaching activity eg. positive training, walking, bathing, socialisation, and there are no negative impacts on the physical or emotional well-being of the animal.
Use of terminal surgery and euthanased healthy animals in veterinary surgery training at university vet schools
AWLQ is opposed to supplying unclaimed stray and surrendered animals from Council Pounds, refuges and Greyhound Racing establishments for University Veterinary Schools’ surgical training.
Based on our beliefs in respect for life, fairness, and integrity, we believe that this practice shows a lack of respect for animals’ lives, is not fair to the animals, and is not consistent with generally held views in Australian society on our responsibility to care for animals. 

Humane Vet Teaching

Vets can be well-trained without using terminal surgery on live animals, or the bodies of abandoned animals from pounds and shelters and racing establishments. The majority of academic studies of vet student performance using humane teaching methods have shown that humane teaching methods are at least equivalent to, or superior to, methods which harm animals. Humane teaching methods include the use of surgical simulators to ensure basic skills are mastered before students are exposed to real animals. Body donation programs can be introduced to allow people to donate the bodies of their animals if they are euthanased at vet surgeries due to severe suffering. Collaborative arrangements can also be made with pounds and shelters to work with veterinarians to gain experience in desexing or surgical operations to heal injured or sick stray and abandoned animals.
The current use of abandoned animals from pounds and shelters desensitises vets by exposing them to the killing of healthy dogs. Compassion, and an understanding of the veterinary role in reducing overpopulation and irresponsible ownership is more likely to be developed if all veterinary students are required to do work experience for several weeks in shelters and pounds, treating abandoned animals and reducing overpopulation through becoming skilled in early age desexing.

Legal requirement to reduce, replace and refine the use of animals in teaching

The compulsory Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes 7th Edition states that: “Animals are not to be used for teaching activities unless there are no suitable alternatives to achieving all of the educational objectives”. P.45
Universities that continue to use animals from pounds and shelters when there are viable alternatives are in breach of the code.
Many universities use more ethical approaches including all 6 veterinary schools in the UK, the University of Sydney, and several schools in the USA who use body donation programs and collaborative programs with shelters and pounds.

Prevention of unwanted animals

use of unwanted animals for vet training makes it easier to avoid dealing with the prevention of unwanted animals.
Animals from pounds and greyhound racing establishments are only available for vet training because there has been no legal requirement to introduce prevention and re-homing programs to prevent homeless animals.
Local Laws currently allow the disposal of unclaimed animals after a set number of days by killing them. However, these laws are out of step with public opinion. Companion animals are valued in our society and the killing of stray and surrendered animals as a result of humans’ irresponsible breeding and ownership is not acceptable to the majority of the public. The fact that the supply of these animals to universities is not publicised by Councils is evidence of this.
Instead Local governments should be implementing proactive legislation such as Responsible Breeding Legislation complemented by community education to prevent stray and abandoned animals with Codes of Practice and inspections of Breeders and Sellers to ensure they are providing for the welfare of their animals, re-homing to informed people capable of being responsible owners, and microchipping all pets prior to sale or transfer and desexing them, (unless being sold to responsible breeders or to members of breed organizations  for showing and breed potential, or for health exemptions). Such legislation and education programs can be financially viable through breeding permit fees, relative to the scale of the breeding establishment and the costs to inspect, general levies for community well-being and safety, or specific levies on dog & cat owners.

Costs

Disposing of unwanted animals means that councils do not have to pay for euthanasing. It therefore makes the killing of animals more economically viable in the short term, but does not prevent ongoing issues with the costs of stray and abandoned animals in the long term.

Animal Welfare

Transporting healthy and treatable abandoned animals and keeping them for up to a week in cages in another strange place to be used for terminal surgery, in addition to the trauma they have already faced in being abandoned or caught, transported, and kept at the pound for the legal time period, is an additional burden that should not be placed on these animals.
More ethical actions would be for vet schools and pounds to work together on re-homing and prevention strategies such as desexing, providing mobile desexing, microchipping and treatment services for pounds, community education, and transporting these animals in mobile re-homing units to find more homes. Vet students will thus gain both practical and ethical training.
Which dogs are suitable for units?
Many dogs can live happily in units provided they are given appropriate care, exercise and companionship. Size is NOT necessarily the best determining factor eg. Some smaller breeds can be noisier than some larger breeds. Greyhounds tend to be happy lying around provided they have a regular walk. They are usually calm, quiet animals, great with children. All shapes and sizes can be suitable, including Whippets, Basenjis, Clumber Spaniels, Great Danes and Bulldogs.
Decisions should be based on:

  • Responsibility of the owner  including capacity to care for and train
  • Age of the dog
  • Temperament of the individual dog, as well as breed type
  • Exercise Needs of the dog

Which cats are suitable for units?
Most cats can live completely indoors provided their needs for food & water, cleanliness, companionship, play, company and exercise are met.
AWLQ recommends keeping cats indoors or with an appropriate enclosure, or pet safe fence that inverts inwards, so that they have an outdoor area but are kept safely on their own property.  This prevents their being injured or killed on roads, or by dogs, or in cat fights. It also prevents nuisance issues which often lead to their being trapped and taken to the pound.
For a guide on how to cat proof your fences go to: http://www.pets.info.vic.gov.au/community/catenclosure.htm
By providing built-in cat safe enclosures around patios and decks or cat-safe fencing, rental properties and unit complexes will enhance the market for their properties, as two thirds of the Australian population are pet owners.
AWLQ supports Rental Properties and Multi-Unit Dwellings with pet-friendly policies and will be promoting these on their website from mid-2008.

Animals in units and rental properties

AWLQ supports the keeping of suitable dogs and cats in units and rental properties to provide companionship for people and responsible homes for animals.
It is important that body corporate and owners of rental properties recognise that cats and dogs are family for many people, just as children are family. Many studies have shown the benefits of pet ownership to the physical and psychological health of human beings. Dogs and cats are especially important to provide comfort, security and companionship for retired and elderly people; however with growing proportions of single and couple households with no children, cats and dogs are also very important.  
There are many well-socialised dogs and cats currently being killed in pound and shelters because there are not enough homes for them. Approximately one quarter of cats and dogs handed in to shelters are due to owners moving and many of these indicate they have difficulty finding pet-friendly accommodation.
To increase the market for their units and rental properties, and support responsible pet owners, body corporate and landlords can develop a Pet Policy. This can include:

  1. Bringing animals to an interview
  2. Pet resumes including vaccination records, proof of desexing and microchipping (and registration for dogs), and certificates of completion of a dog obedience course.
  3. Pet references from veterinarians, former landlords, neighbours, and others that the pet is well kept and the owner is responsible
  4. A signed Pet Agreement which outlines rules and regulations, including clear jointly agreed procedures in case the agreement is broken e.g. warnings, hearings, and follow-up actions
  5. Providing appropriate areas where pets are allowed to go in the complex

For Sample Pet Policy Guidelines:  http://www.petnet.com.au/rent/tenants.html
Which dogs are suitable for units?
Many dogs can live happily in units provided they are given appropriate care, exercise and companionship. Size is NOT necessarily the best determining factor eg. Some smaller breeds can be noisier than some larger breeds. Greyhounds tend to be happy lying around provided they have a regular walk. They are usually calm, quiet animals, great with children. All shapes and sizes can be suitable, including Whippets, Basenjis, Clumber Spaniels, Great Danes and Bulldogs.
Decisions should be based on:

  • Responsibility of the owner  including capacity to care for and train
  • Age of the dog
  • Temperament of the individual dog, as well as breed type
  • Exercise Needs of the dog

Which cats are suitable for units?
Most cats can live completely indoors provided their needs for food & water, cleanliness, companionship, play, company and exercise are met.
AWLQ recommends keeping cats indoors or with an appropriate enclosure, or pet safe fence that inverts inwards, so that they have an outdoor area but are kept safely on their own property.  This prevents their being injured or killed on roads, or by dogs, or in cat fights. It also prevents nuisance issues which often lead to their being trapped and taken to the pound.
For a guide on how to cat proof your fences go to: http://www.pets.info.vic.gov.au/community/catenclosure.htm
By providing built-in cat safe enclosures around patios and decks or cat-safe fencing, rental properties and unit complexes will enhance the market for their properties, as two thirds of the Australian population are pet owners.
AWLQ supports Rental Properties and Multi-Unit Dwellings with pet-friendly policies and will be promoting these on their website from mid-2008.

Farm Animals

Live Export

AWLQ is strongly opposed to the export of live animals for slaughter and supports legislation to ban live export. Based on our values of respect for all living beings, fairness and integrity, it is unacceptable to expose animals to suffering the highly stressful conditions of long journeys where they are in unfamiliar surroundings, and inadequate conditions, deprived of their capacity to eat and move naturally. Thousands of animals die on these journeys from failure to eat and Salmonellosis caused by stress, overcrowding and increased excretion. In receiving countries, evidence has shown that many animals are exposed to rough handling when being unloaded from the ships and distributed to slaughterhouses and individuals for slaughter. Animals are usually slaughtered in a fully conscious state and die slowly.

Long Distance Transport

AWLQ is opposed to the long distance transport of animals for slaughter. Where animals are produced for food, they should be killed as close as possible to the point of rearing.

Farm Animals

Live Export

AWLQ is strongly opposed to the export of live animals for slaughter and supports legislation to ban live export. Based on our values of respect for all living beings, fairness and integrity, it is unacceptable to expose animals to suffering the highly stressful conditions of long journeys where they are in unfamiliar surroundings, and inadequate conditions, deprived of their capacity to eat and move naturally. Thousands of animals die on these journeys from failure to eat and Salmonellosis caused by stress, overcrowding and increased excretion. In receiving countries, evidence has shown that many animals are exposed to rough handling when being unloaded from the ships and distributed to slaughterhouses and individuals for slaughter. Animals are usually slaughtered in a fully conscious state and die slowly.

Long Distance Transport

AWLQ is opposed to the long distance transport of animals for slaughter. Where animals are produced for food, they should be killed as close as possible to the point of rearing.

Intensive Farming

AWLQ is opposed to the keeping of animals in conditions where they are unable to fulfil their behavioural needs for food, water, shelter, comfort, exercise, play, socialisation, hygiene and health.

Mulesing

AWLQ supports the urgent introduction of effective alternatives to mulesing of sheep to prevent flystrike. It is opposed to the practice of mulesing of sheep without anaesthetic or pain relief.

Rodeo

AWLQ calls for a total ban on rodeos on the grounds of cruelty and exploitation of these animals. Rodeos have already been banned in Britain and in parts of Europe and the United States. AWLQ opposes any form of animal exploitation for human profit or entertainment.

Circuses

AWLQ opposes the use of all animals in circuses and calls for a ban on the grounds of the inability for these animals to express their natural behaviour due to unsuitable living arrangements and constant travel as well as the distress and possible injury caused by the tricks demanded in their performance. AWLQ opposes any form of animal exploitation for human profit or entertainment.