Media release 3 September 2020

DON’T FORGET DOMESTIC ANIMALS IN DRAWING VICTORIA’S COVID ROADMAP

Victoria’s roadmap out of Stage 4 lockdown must not ignore the welfare of our domestic animals as well as people, says industry peak body, the Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA).

“During the Covid-19 pandemic we’ve seen many people turn to animal companionship to help them get through a very tough time,” said PIAA national president, Barry Codling.

“Just like their owners, pets need to be properly fed, exercised and cared for.

“This isn’t just about veterinary and feed services, but access to other supplies and services that ensure domestic animals can live happily and healthily, even in the midst of this pandemic.”

“Even grooming and walking services are essential for many companion animals,” Mr Codling said.

“For example, if a pet owner is frail and elderly, and can no longer properly groom and exercise her beloved dog, she needs help in caring for that companion animal, just as much as they need help with caring for themselves.

“But in a crisis like this pandemic, these services are too easily under-valued when governments make decisions about what businesses can remain fully or partly open, and which cannot,” Mr Codling said.

With the Victorian government planning to release its roadmap out of the current lockdown on Sunday, including its plan to reopen the state’s economy, Mr Codling said it is highly important to treat domestic and companion animal health and welfare services as essential and not discretionary.

“We call on the Premier, Mr Andrews and the Minister for Jobs, Mr Pakula, to include pet services businesses in their roadmap and economic recovery consultations, and ensure the health and welfare needs of domestic animals, as well as livestock, are fully respected in all future decisions about extending Victoria’s State of Emergency and State of Disaster,” Mr Codling said.

PIAA is also calling for Victoria’s essential and emergency services legislation to be amended after this emergency passes, to ensure that animal welfare is specifically defined as an essential service in any future state of emergency.

“It’s vitally important, in times of grave emergency, that meeting the basic health and welfare needs of Victoria’s domestic and companion animals does not depend on the discretion of ministers and officials, but is unambiguously legislated as a category of essential service,” Mr Codling said.

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Further information and interview requests:
Jenny Littlewood | 0403 359 864 | jenny.littlewood@communicado.com.au
Alexandra Brudenell |0402 442 721 | alex.brudenell@communicado.com.au

Spokespeople available:
• Barry Codling, President of the Pet Industry Association of Australia
• Beck Newcombe, owner Becks Dog Retreat (dog boarding)
• Jonathan Whitelaw, founder and managing director Woofers World (grooming and exercise)
• Ian Bradnock, Director, Ian the Dog Trainer

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