WE Aussies love our pets. The Australian Companion Animal Council estimates eight million households across the country share their homes with pets.
Although Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, there is a surprising lack of reliable data.
This gap in information makes life harder for those whose job it is to plan for the management and welfare of companion animals in this country.
Effi cient planning to maximise the benefits, minimise the risks and achieve better outcomes for animals relies on access to the best possible information.
To address the information gap, the Companion Animal Working Group ( CAWG) – a national committee working as part of the Federal Government’s Australian Animal Welfare Strategy – is proposing the national census be used to obtain data on pet ownership.
CAWG is lobbying to have questions about companion animals included in the next census, in 2016, to accurately identify how many households have cats and dogs and whether those cats and dogs are desexed.
The data would help urban planners and councils developing local by- laws manage cats and dogs and those delivering community education programs on socially responsible pet ownership.
The data collection would also provide baseline information for developing national companion animal legislation, aimed at improved outcomes around the breeding, sale and keeping of animals.
With pets proven to provide signifi cant social, physical and mental health benefits to individuals and communities, there is likely to be a continuing and growing need for data on this topic.
The public is encouraged to support CAWG’s bid for the census questions by contacting their local member or the federal minister responsible for the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Bernie Ripoll, before May 31.
Mr Ripoll can be emailed at email@example.com
Written letters of support can be mailed to PO Box 6022, House of Representatives, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600.