Farmers could be fined for dogs on utes

Animal cruelty act changes propose fines for animals on utes on hot days


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A proposed change to animal cruelty regulations will prohibit animals on utes on hot days.

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VICTORIAN farmers could be slugged with a $413 fine for putting working dogs on the back of a ute under proposed changes to the animal cruelty act.

The Victorian government released its draft Prevention of Cruelty to Animal regulations last week.

Changes include new animal transportation and tethering requirements, use of pain relief for mulesing sheep; and changes to the sale and use of electronic devices.

The changes also include a new rule that states 'a person must not place an animal onto a metal tray of a motor vehicle or trailer when outside temperatures are at or above 28 degrees, without a layer of insulating material protecting the animal from contact with the metal tray.'

Farmers could face a $413 fine for breaking the new rule.

Murra Warra farmer and Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke said the proposed rule lacked common sense.

"We definitely need to make sure that animal welfare is the number one concern, but making a hard and fast rule won't work," he said.

Mr Jochinke said the change would make working dogs in summer very difficult.

"The rule doesn't take into account shelter or any attempts the person has made to keep their dogs cool," he said.

"It could be a 28-degree day and you are working dogs, so they are on and off the tray, and they could have a bag to sit on.

"Or it could be a 28-degree day and the ute is parked in the shade, or it could be a 28-degree day when dogs are sitting in full sun without protection - these are all the same day.

"We want a rule to come in to make sure animals are protected but we want to make sure its a practical rule to work with.

"We wouldn't get any work done during summer - if you are working a dog, it's impractical to not use a ute."

Other rules under the proposed changes include not transporting an animal in the boot of a sedan; not leaving an animal unattended inside a vehicle for more than 10 minutes on hot days; not transporting a farm animal that cannot bear weight on all limbs; and not transporting farm animals in a passenger vehicle.

The regulations will replace the animal cruelty act's existing regulations, which expire on December 15.

Mr Jochinke said the Victorian Farmers Federation supported new pain relief regulations for mulesing.

"It's a good step and there are options out there to reduce the pain," he said.

"We are encouraging the industry to look for alternative methods to mulesing, but at the moment it is the best method to reduce fly strike.

"Until an adequate alternative is found, we support mulesing with pain relief."

Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes said people could give feedback on the proposed changes from September 23.

"This is an opportunity for government, industry and the general public to have their say on an update to Victoria's animal welfare regulations," she said.

She said people could visit this website for more information.

Wimmera Mail-Times

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