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Animal activism and Pets in Australia

Did you know that some well known Australian animal groups are campaigning to ban you from owning your pet? That some animal activist groups are trying to convert your kids into becoming vegans?

Did you know that some Australian animal groups want to stop you from using natural products like wool and leather in favour of synthetic products based on oil? That they want to ban you from eating your BBQ sausages, giving your kid a glass of milk and having eggs and bacon for breakfast?

Did you know that some of these groups have developed “cells” in many schools in Australia to bring school children into their campaigns without their parents’ knowledge or support?

You know about PETA and Animal Liberation, don’t you? These well funded minority groups DO NOT believe that you should own a pet us use an animal in any way. It’s their published policy.

Some groups develop scare campaigns to get your money and support and get media coverage. They frighten you with scary pictures and grand claims. They try to make you believe that really bad things are happening to animals everywhere. For example, there are some groups that would make you think that puppy farms are everywhere!

What you might not know is that a swarm of tiny support groups – some as small as two people and members of these larger activist groups, develop websites, register business names and start campaigns to make it look like they have lots of support from the public. Get wise! Check your facts!

How to tell the difference between an pet activist group and a pet welfare organisation

1. They don’t necessarily DO anything, but they tell YOU what to do and what to believe. For example, the RSPCA is a welfare organisation which actually operates “on the ground” to deal with real pet problems daily – the meet the people, touch the pets and solve real problems. They really understand how complex and culturally based pet issues can be. They are NOT an activist group.

2. They forget to remind you that you elect a government to regulate pet welfare and the government does just that. Australia has first class animal cruelty and animal welfare laws and the RSPCA, Animal Welfare League and Councils do a fine job in shutting down rogue operators. The fact that you see these reported on TV is proof that the system is working.

3. Some activist organisations claiming to be “for animals” criticise the excellent work of the legitimate welfare organisations, including RSPCA and Animal Welfare League. If they were genuinely “for animals” they would work with the legitimate welfare organisations, not criticise them!

4. Some groups are sometimes not so careful with their facts. For example, activist groups make big claims about pet euthanasia numbers, when the latest RSPCA figures shows that less than 10% of the claimed numbers are euthanased, and 85% of these for medical or behavioural reasons. Shelters are getting empty.

5. They use scary pictures to make you think that something is a huge problem. For example, an activist group used 10 year old photos of a puppy farm that was closed and prosecuted to try and make you believe that this issue is current & widespread. Some “puppy farm” photos have been photos of hoarders when these are NOT the same (see separate fact sheet)

6. They may use one “fact” to link with another when no such link exists. For example, activists have “linked” high pet euthanasia rates with pet shop pets, when there is no evidence that this link exists.

7. They provide simplistic “answers” to complex problems. Many activist groups want to “ban” lots of things , but “banning” generally generates a black market in whatever you are banning and doesn’t solve any problems. It may just be a stepwise movement towards their ultimate goals.

8. For example they would have you believe that banning pets from pet shops would “solve” the euthanasia problem when this is a complex issue that has less to do with pet shops and more to do with education and breeding.

What should you do now?

Firstly, “question everything” as a science journal says. ASK for the facts. ASK a group what their policies are.

Listen to the groups that are independent and professional, like the Australian Veterinary Association, like Pets Australia and other Industry Associations – these people operate on fact and will do the rigorous analysis that you don’t have time to do.

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Align your personal beliefs with those of the organisations you support. If you don’t want bans on pet ownership, don’t support those organisations regardless of how persuasive a current campaign might look. If you believe in pet education, “knowing all sides of a story” and clear declarations of policy, join Pets Australia!

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Join the Pets Australia members blog. Pets Australia listens to the views of its members and takes all these views into account in developing policy.


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