Tuesday, 9 September 2008

WA Election Update

To the WA Nationals
Congratulations – Royalties For Regions

Congratulations are due to the WA Nationals for a strong policy in Royalties for Regions and for holding this policy as a baseline for negotiations to form a government. Well done!

Barking Mad is the national lobby group for responsible pet owners. We suspect the Nationals more than any other party would recognise the importance of the dog to our way of life, our community, families, livelihood and our safety.

  • Dogs have played an important role in the welfare of our community and for companionship throughout the history of human settlement in Australia.
  • Our European history is said to be off the sheep’s’ back - a history dependant on the working dog and the Aboriginal stockman as much as it was on the European farmer.
  • Many of us know those sheep would not have been yarded without the dog; nor would the sow destroying the pastures providing feed to the cattle destined to be the city folks’ evening meal been brought down without a dog.

Both the Liberals and Labor have campaigned on a policy to increase public transport. Will this infrastructure be available to the 65% of voters with pets?

The Issue: Clean, well-behaved pets should be able to accompany their responsible owners on buses, coaches, ferries, trams and trains throughout Australia.

The Solution (London Style): You can travel with your dog or other inoffensive animal, unless there is a good reason for us to refuse it (such as if the animal seems dangerous or is likely to upset other customers).

“The RSPCA believes that dogs play an important part in the
lives of their owners and families. We would like dog owners to have the
opportunity to include their dog in activities which may involve travel on
public transport provided that the dog involved could deal with this sort of
situation and it could be managed in such as way so as to not impact on other
transport users.” RSPCA Australia

Australians have the highest rate of pet ownership in the world.
1. At least 40% of homes have a dog, a greater percentage than homes with children.
2. 20% of those homes have more than one dog.
3. The largest category of dog owner is a family with children.
4. Pet owners contribute $4.6 billion annually to the economy and this market is expanding rapidly.
5. Dogs are now more than the family pet; they are a family member.

Companion, assistance and working dogs are a positive contribution to:

  • health (walking)
  • mental health (socialisation and caring)
  • ageing (safety and socialisation)
  • safety in the home (an early warning system to intruders)
  • public safety (police statistics show people out walking reduces incidents of street crime and those with dogs are less likely to be the victim of an assault)

Barking Mad asks the Nationals to use their position to ensure that responsible pet owners are not excluded from public transport, including new infrastructure, with their pet. We look forward to a positive response.