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Pet Industry News Newsletter 5th June 2017
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Lack of consultation leads to continued disappointment

The Pet Industry Association of Australia remains extremely disappointed in the proposed changes and lack of consultation from the Victorian Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford, in regards to the redrafting of the ‘Puppy Farm and Pet Shops Bill’.

The Government’s latest releases and interviews approves the Applicable Organisation status for Dogs Victoria while continuing to target open, transparent, legal breeders by imposing an arbitrary limit of 10 breeding dogs.

Mark Fraser, CEO of the Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA) said this is a huge disappointment.

‘The Pet Industry Association of Australia has incredibly high standards for our breeding members, with stringent audits annually. Despite our attempts of contact and being the peak industry body for pets in Australia we have not been consulted to date in the redrafting of the Bill.’

‘It was clearly shown in the Parliamentary Inquiry that there is no animal welfare evidence for a 10 dog limit, this potentially making the problem of puppy farming worse, not better.’

‘Imposing a limit completely opposes the recommendation of the Parliamentary Inquiry to abandon the 10 fertile female limit.’

‘PIAA’s members already have stringent annual veterinary checks in place ensuring that members are following PIAA’s stringent standards and guidelines.’

Mr Fraser said that he would welcome the opportunity to participate in consultations for the final redrafting of the Bill, and how PIAA can help shape and audit exemptions provided to non pure-bred dogs.
 
Guardian dogs could be the best way of managing wild predators
 
Wild predators such as big cats, wolves and dingoes kill livestock in many parts of the world. Eradicating predators from areas where people and livestock live is usually done through lethal means, but now there are non-lethal methods that are proving to be more effective.
 
Professor Chris Johnson from the University of Tasmania, will explain the advantages of using non-lethal approaches over lethal methods to predator control to protect livestock at the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) national conference today.
 
According to Professor Johnson, lethal control has three main drawbacks.
 
“Lethal control often fails or is short-lived. Strangely enough, in many cases killing wild predators is followed by increased attacks on livestock because the removal of local predators leads to rapid immigration from somewhere else.
 
“Another setback is that many large predators are now rare and can provide important benefits to the ecosystem and biodiversity. Large predators can also help to keep numbers of wild herbivores down that may have otherwise damaged the habitat in larger numbers,” Professor Johnson said.
 
“Lastly, and more importantly, lethal control of large predators can be unacceptable on welfare grounds, especially when killing by poisons which can cause prolonged suffering.”
 
Methods of non-lethal management include shepherding, fencing, deterrent devices, stock-husbandry practices and livestock guardian animals. Professor Johnson says that these methods have been proven to be more consistently effective than the lethal control of predators.
 
“The method that shows the most promise, based on effectiveness and cost-benefit suitability to Australian conditions, is the use of guardian animals such as donkeys, alpacas and dogs, especially the maremma sheepdog.
 
“Guardian dogs have also been shown to provide benefits beyond their primary role of reducing losses of livestock, reducing stress and improving temperament in sheep. So, as well as preventing their animals from being attacked, guardian dogs could produce better overall welfare and improved production of the livestock they protect,” he said.
 
Guardian dogs may also provide direct protection to wildlife species which was the case for fairy penguins at Middle Island, on the Victorian coast.
 
”Regular patrols by dogs deterred raids on the island by foxes and lead to the recovery of a population of fairy penguins that had been on the point of distinction.”
 
“We’re likely to see an increase in the use of guardian dogs in place of lethal control of predators in livestock production, and possibly in wildlife conservation. The result of this should be better systems of animal management on farms, improved viability of livestock production, improved animal welfare, and more effective conservation of native species,” Professor Johnson said.
 

PIAA and Tower Systems present AusPet 2017


Thursday 19 October @ 11:00 am
- Friday 20 October @ 5:00 pm
Grand Pavilion. Rosehill Racecourse, James Ruse Drive
Rosehill, NSW 2142 Australia
+ Google Map

The Grand Pavilion, Rosehill Racecourse, Sydney Oct 19 & 20 An annual conference and trade show for the Australian pet & aquatics industry. AusPet 2017 (formally Pet Expo) Exhibitor Prospectus AusPet 2017 Exhibitor Floor Plan Level 1 - Updated 2 June 2017 AusPet 2017 Exhibitor Floor Plan Level 2 - Updated 2 June 2017 New Product Nomination Form 2017 Need accommodation? We have pre-negotiated rates at some nearby hotels via our partner, Ozaccom:
https://ep.ozaccom.com.au/public/PET17/accommodation.aspx
 

Improving the quality of life for Australia's unusual pet population
 
 Kongs, toys, scratching poles and climbing frames are all commonly found in households that have a dog or cat because they provide pets with safe and fun ways of exercising their bodies and their minds at home.
 
But, what if you have an unusual pet like a rabbit, ferret or reptile? How can owners ensure they are meeting their physical and mental needs at home?
 
Dr Brendan Carmel treats unusual pets on a regular basis at Warranwood Veterinary Centre in Victoria. At the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) Annual Conference tomorrow, he’ll be discussing ways of addressing and providing the right environment for unusual pets.
 
“Environmental enrichment is essential for all living creatures, and this applies to exotic pets such as rabbits, rodents, ferrets, birds, reptiles and amphibians and fish.
 
“Until recently there has been little research in environmental enrichment strategies for unusual pets, but this has changed over the last few years,” Dr Carmel said.
 
According to Animal Medicines Australia’s Pet ownership in Australia 2016 Report, more than one in 10 households keep fish, over one in 10 households own at least one bird and three per cent of households own a small mammal or reptile.
 
Dr Carmel says that before choosing to get an unusual pet, it’s important that people are aware of their individual mental and physical needs.
 
“We need to ensure we are providing stimulating environments for unusual pets, much like we do for dogs and cats. Failure to provide a suitable home environment is likely to result in boredom which is never in the best interests of any animal.
 
“The best way to house an unusual pet will very much depend on whether they’re a prey animal, such as a rabbit, or a predator, such as a ferret. It’s important that owners of unusual pets speak to their veterinarian about what’s suitable for their pet,” Dr Carmel said.
 
Below are some tips to creating an enriching home environment for an unusual pet.
 
Rabbits and Guinea Pigs
Their wild ancestors lived in tunnels so they don’t like open spaces. Providing shading over the central areas of a hutch will make them more comfortable. Hiding food to allow foraging is also ideal.
 
Rodents
Provide tubes from cardboard, plastic pipes and consider making mazes to encourage exploration. Rodents like to chew items and construct beds so non-toxic items such as tissues and recycled newspaper litter is appropriate.
 
Ferrets
Environmental enrichment should centre on their high motivation to explore and forage, adequate resting and play opportunities.
 
Birds
Aviaries ideally would be large enough to allow flight and room for foraging, climbing, balance, exercise and play, with multiple perches and places to hide. If there is no room for flight then they should be provided with daily exercise.
 
Reptiles and amphibians
These creatures are more advanced than many may think. They display sophisticated communication traits such as problem solving and parental care. Specific environmental requirements should encourage natural behaviours such as climbing and burrowing.

UK News
Royal Veterinary College highlights health concerns for popular dog breeds

The French Bulldog is expected to become the most registered dog in 2017, overtaking the Labrador Retrievers’ 27-year reign at the top, reports the Royal Veterinary College (RVC).

New research shows that appearance is the number one reason owners purchase flat-faced breeds, attracted by their large, round, wide-set eyes, and flat rounded faces. However, such characteristics are linked with a variety of inherited diseases.

Flat-faced dogs often suffer from lifelong respiratory, eye and skin problems, and a reduced lifespan compared with longer faced breeds.

The study, which was conducted by the RVC, in collaboration with Plymouth University, sought to find out what influences owners to purchase a flat-faced breed. Once this decision has been made, it investigated how they go about acquiring a puppy.

The study surveyed owners of the top ten most popular Kennel Club registered breeds in the UK, to compare how influences upon breed choice and purchasing processes differed between owners of flat-faced breeds and popular longer faced breeds.

Key influencing factors associated with the choice of a brachycephalic breed include:

  • The size of the breed being suited to owner lifestyle as owners of flat-faced dogs were more likely to live in apartments
  • The breed being perceived to be good with children and for companionship as owners of flat-faced dogs were more likely to live with children
  • Owners of the breed were more likely to be younger and buying that breed for the first time – this may reflect increased media influence among younger people, with flat-faced breeds commonly used in the media and advertising

The study raised concerns over how the owners of brachycephalic dogs purchase their desired breed, with owners of flat-faced dogs:

  • More likely to use puppy selling websites to find their dog
  • Less likely to see either parent of their puppy
  • Less likely to ask to see any health records

Recommendations from the study included identifying and promoting breeds with fewer health conditions that fit the lifestyle niches associated with flat-faced dog owners. It suggested moderating the use of flat-faced dogs in the media and educating the public regarding the consequences of breeding animals based on looks rather than health.

Dr Rowena Packer, lead author of the study and Research Fellow at RVC, said: “With their small size and baby-like features, some people cannot resist the looks of a brachycephalic dog. With growing evidence that these breeds are faced with a range of chronic and severe health conditions directly linked with their appearance, it is of huge concern that many people drawn to these breeds prioritise a dog’s looks over their long-term health and wellbeing.

“Potential puppy buyers attracted to the appearance of these breeds should seriously consider whether they are emotionally and financially prepared to take on a breed with high risks of health complications, and consider whether alternative, lower-risk breeds would better fit their lifestyle”

Co-author of the study and Associate Professor of Animal Welfare at Plymouth University, Dr Mark Farnworth, said: “Owners must be aware that as puppy-buyers, they are consumers, and their choices affect not only the health of the puppy they purchase, but also the health of the breed more widely.

“If owners do not follow recommended processes when purchasing a puppy, for example those set out in BVA AWF & RSPCA ‘Puppy Contract’, unscrupulous breeders will be kept in business, and continue to profit from the breeding and sale of unhealthy dogs. Without consumer awareness, breed health improvements are not possible and the overall health of these breeds will likely decline”.
Source: UK Pet Gazette

Estimated 30,000 fish found dead in Murray River


The Department of Fisheries have confirmed around 30,000 fish have mysteriously died in the Murray River over the course of the last week, and said the event was likely the cause of 'poor water quality'.

The number is a significant increase from the Department's initial estimate of 3000, and Recfishwest said it was likely the number would continue to grow.

The 'fish death event' triggered a warning from the department last Wednesday, and local anglers were advised to refrain from eating or handling any fish caught in the catchment while water and fish samples were collected and tested.

An investigation into the event was launched, and fish and water samples were collected for further testing

Complex cocktail of chemicals found in coastal turtles 
Complex cocktail of chemicals found in coastal turtles 

Chemicals including heart and gout medications, herbicides, pesticides, metals and industrial chemicals have been found in the blood of Great Barrier Reef turtles.

A research team led by Associate Professor Caroline Gaus, Dr Amy Heffernan and Dr Maria Jose Gomez-Ramos from the Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences (QAEHS) – a partnership between The University of Queensland and Queensland Health – found the rate of chemical exposure surprising.

The research team tested blood collected from ‘case’ turtles at two coastal locations – Cleveland Bay and Upstart Bay – and compared these to ‘control’ turtles from the remote Howick group of islands which are far-removed from human sources.

“We found turtles from the two coastal areas recorded a long list of chemicals associated with human activities, including medication to treat gout, kidney stones and heart problems,” Dr Heffernan said.  

“We also found the turtles had ingested chemicals used in industrial products such as adhesive, sealant and lubricant.

“The harmful health effects these chemicals have had on the turtles is distressing with biomarkers indicating inflammation and liver dysfunction.”

This is the first study to link the external environmental and internal chemical exposure in the turtles by using a non-target screening technique, a cutting-edge, unbiased analytical approach.

These results were directly linked to previously published results from QAEHS collaborator Dr C. Alex Villa and Dr Mark Flint at UQ’s Vet-MARTI unit, which reported elevated levels of cobalt and clinical markers of inflammation in Upstart Bay turtles.

“Thousands of chemicals are released onto the market every year, and often we don’t know enough about them, including what effects they might have on the environment,” Dr Heffernan said.

“This raises an important point – we should be including newly-developed synthetic chemicals in environmental monitoring programs.”

According to the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), there are more than 130 million chemicals registered in the world.

Each day, 15,000 new chemicals are registered - one every six seconds - meaning databases for environmental contaminants cannot keep up.

This study was part of the larger Rivers to Reefs to Turtles project; a partnership between QAEHS, UQ School of Veterinary Science’s Vet-MARTI unit, WWF-AustraliaQueensland Government’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Griffith University, and James Cook University with support from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, and funding from Banrock Station Environmental Trust
Australia's hidden animal welfare crisis
 
 Across Australia, there are animals that are stressed, starving, homeless and suffering from disease; unfortunately, it’s largely due to human actions.
 
At the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) Annual Conference today, conservation scientist Martin Taylor from WWF-Australia will be shining a light on the largely unacknowledged wildlife welfare crisis caused by tree clearing.
 
“Deforestation, also known as land clearing or tree clearing, is linked to large scale wild native animal death and suffering every year. 
 
“Unfortunately, tree clearing is treated as a conservation issue in law and policy, not as an animal welfare issue so we don’t have a good handle on the exact numbers of animals suffering and dying due to bulldozing of their habitats every year.
 
“What we do know is that in the early 2000s, about 100 million animals including birds, reptiles and mammals, were estimated to be killed annually due to large-scale bulldozing of primary forests and woodland, hitherto largely untouched by human activity.
 
“While bulldozing itself is not often the direct cause, wildlife suffering and death is mostly a secondary consequence of animals rendered homeless and running the gauntlet of car strikes, predation, conflicts within species, starvation and disease,” Dr Taylor said.
 
In 2006, large scale bulldozing of primary forests was banned in the state of Queensland and in 2009 this regulation was extended to advanced secondary forests. However, in 2012 these major protections were reversed and the animal welfare impacts were reflected in the high number of wildlife rescues that followed.
 
“After the 2012 axing of protections, RSPCA Queensland reported over a doubling of hospital admissions of native wildlife from 9195 in 2012 to 21,363 in 2016. RSPCA put this down to habitat destruction. The prognosis for animals after admission is not good, with less than 25 percent surviving the experience.
 
“The prognosis is worse for trauma victims. Of 2000 koalas suffering fractures admitted to wildlife hospitals in South East Queensland, only 2 percent of them could be released back to the wild.
 
“And that’s just the animals we know about in the peri-urban environment where wildlife services are available. Countless animals suffer injury and death in more remote parts of the state where such services are largely absent but where most habitat destruction goes on.
 
“Ultimately reining-in habitat loss is the only way to remedy the wildlife welfare and conservation crisis we have in Australia. This requires a nationwide shift in thinking and changes to policy about land clearing so that we develop much stronger legislation that prioritises wildlife animal health and wellbeing through protection of their habitats,” Dr Taylor said.
 
US News
Online retailing is changing the game for pet parents.
 
Specifically, 40% of pet owners are opting to buy pet products online, up from 37% the previous year, and notably higher than results from 2014, according to U.S. Pet Market Outlook, 2017-2018. The report, from research firm Packaged Facts, highlights mergers and acquisitions, retail channel trends, and pet owner demographics and spending habits.
 
According to Packaged Facts, a large percentage of pet product sales growth is online. Not only are higher numbers of consumers buying pet goods online, but they are spending more of their pet product dollars online. Further, an ever-increasing number of consumers agreed that they purchase pet products online more than they used to.  
 
“E-commerce has accelerated its shift from being a Wild West boomtown toward becoming the market's retail California," said David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts.
 
One factor spurring this growth is an increase in merger and acquisition (M&A) activity since 2016. This includes Mars' purchase of VCA Inc. and other veterinary practice consolidation; PetSmart's acquisition of Chewy.com, and Walmart's acquisition of jet.com. Each deal has contributed to the structural remix of the pet market, the report revealed.
 
“Brick-and-mortar retailers and manufacturers are scrambling to regroup to avoid losing ground. Retailers are adapting to compete with the Internet's—specifically Amazon's—ballooning strength in pet product sales,” Sprinkle said. “Brand manufacturers are adapting because their entrenched lock on shelf space is increasingly irrelevant for shelf-stable online purchasable products such as dry and canned pet food or cat litter.”
 
To compete, traditional retailers need to step up their game beyond beefing up their own online presence. For example, specialty pet superstores, such as PetSmart and Petco, are capitalizing on their established relationships with customers who know what to expect from the in-store experience and from the services offered there. 
 
A critical differentiator for pet specialty stores are non-medical pet services, such as grooming, boarding and training. Indeed, as premium products have become increasingly available online, services are what make pet specialty stores stand out, according to Packaged Facts.
 
Supermarkets are also fighting to retain their share of the pet market against pet superstores, discount-driven Walmart, and of course, online retailers. Supermarkets are increasing the size and scope of their pet care departments, sponsoring pet contests, running promotions with animal rescue groups and even filling pet prescriptions at stores with pharmacies in an effort to lure pet owners into the store, the study said.
Source: US, Chain Store Age
Chimpanzees adapt their foraging behaviour to avoid human contact

Research by PhD candidate Nicola Bryson-Morrison from the School of Anthropology and Conservation (SAC) suggests chimpanzees are aware of the risks of foraging too close to humans.

The findings could play a vital role in helping further understand how human activities and development affect chimpanzee behaviour and habitat use.

Nicola and her team conducted the research in Bossou, Guinea, West Africa between April 2012 and March 2013. They carried out six-hour morning and afternoon follows of the crop-foraging chimpanzees over a full year to record their various behaviours in different habitat types across the landscape.

They found that the chimpanzees preferred mature primary forest for all behaviours and avoided foraging in non-cultivated habitats within 200m from cultivated fields, suggesting an awareness of the associated risks of being too close to locations where humans were likely to be present.

However, the chimpanzees did not avoid foraging close to unsurfaced roads or paths where vehicles or humans may be present. The risks related to roads and paths may be less than cultivated fields where humans are more likely to behave antagonistically towards chimpanzees.
 
The findings have been published in the latest issue of the
International Journal of Primatology.
Nicola is studying at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) research centre within SAC, under the supervision of Dr. Tatyana Humle.
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