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Queensland efforts to stop puppy farms met with cool response -

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ELEANOR HALL: The Queensland Government has moved against puppy farms, where an estimated 100 operators breed dogs in often horrific conditions.

In rare agreement, both animal welfare activists and the pet shop industry though say the proposed laws won't do the job.

Annie Guest has our report from Brisbane.

(Sounds of dogs barking in puppy farm)

ANNIE GUEST: These distressed dogs were discovered at puppy farms in Victoria and South Australia during the past year. One farm was shut down, with the RSPCA seizing 176 dogs.

(Sounds of dogs barking in puppy farm)

The dogs were recorded by animal welfare activist Debra Tranter from Oscar's Law, whose tentatively welcomed Queensland's efforts.

DEBRA TRANTER: Introducing a breeder registration system to Queensland is a good move; it's a positive move forward.

ANNIE GUEST: A bill that would legislate compulsory registration, standards and guidelines for dog breeders has been introduced by the Agriculture Minister, Leanne Donaldson.

In her sights are up to 100 breeders of puppies, sometimes in cruel, cramped, rancid conditions.

LEANNE DONALDSON: A compulsory breeder registration scheme that is supported by a public awareness campaign urging consumers to buy only from registered breeders will leave puppy farms nowhere to hide.

ANNIE GUEST: But not in Debra Tranter's view.

DEBRA TRANTER: It will do nothing to help the dogs enduring life on legal puppy factories throughout Queensland.


DEBRA TRANTER: You can't regulate this brutal industry. We've proven that with our fight for the last 20 years. Victoria has got the same legislation.

ANNIE GUEST: So, the Victorian Government has flagged stronger legislation this year, restricting professional dog breeders to 10 bitches, limiting pet shops to selling dogs from shelters and increasing money for enforcement.

Debra Tranter says it will quash puppy farms.

DEBRA TRANTER: So by making all of these changes together, it's resulting in the focus being on welfare, not profit.

ANNIE GUEST: The Pet Shop Industry Association's chief executive is Mark Fraser.

MARK FRASER: We're all for legislation that advances animal welfare standards but the problem with Victoria, you can have a breeder with two or three dogs in atrocious conditions or another breeder with 100 dogs can be in fantastic full on benchmark conditions.

Too, also if you shut down the retail outlets, more and more underground stuff goes online.

ANNIE GUEST: The Pet Shop Association says it adheres to the highest standards, with very few members found to have bought from puppy farms.

Mark Fraser believes there's a simpler answer to the problem.

MARK FRASER: We'd love to see compulsory licensing for all breeders and all retailers. At the moment, it's a self regulated industry and it isn't working.

ANNIE GUEST: And there's concern puppy farms will simply move interstate to avoid regulations.

Elsewhere, New South Wales is yet to act on an inquiry's recommendations to license breeders, while the ACT has restricted intensive breeding.

ELEANOR HALL: Annie Guest in Brisbane.