On February 23rd, my Bill to save the lives of animals on death row became law as the NSW Government made the unprecedented move to support my Private Member’s Bill.  Together we have outlawed convenience killing in pounds – the killing of animals because it is easier, cheaper, or faster than working to rehome the animals directly or through a rehoming organisation. 

Last year we were all distraught to hear that Bourke Shire Council pound had shot all the dogs in their care, including a mother dog and her puppies. These animals were killed despite the fact that at least two rescue groups were willing to take them and find loving homes. The shooting of these dogs should never have happened. Our weak laws failed these dogs. It will not happen again.

My Bill mandates pounds to work with rescue groups, and prohibits the killing of animals where a rescue group is willing to take on their care.

While it is highly unusual for the Government to support a Private Member’s Bill, I am glad they saw reason and compassion in this instance.

This is the first step toward fixing the broken NSW pound system. There’s still so much more to do – we need better pound facilities, improved standards of care, properly resourced pounds and rescue groups, and we need to address the number of homeless animals making their way into pounds in the first place. You have our commitment that we will continue to push for major pound reform.

Need a lift?  Check out our list of wins for animals!

I often find the extent of animal suffering overwhelming. Reminding myself of our wins list gives me the energy to keep going. In addition to passing a Bill to ban convenience killing in pounds, we have:

  •  Ended the use of cetaceans (dolphins/whales etc.) for entertainment
  •  Obtained mandatory lifetime animal bans for abusers
  •  Got 8-fold increases in penalties for animal abuse
  •  Changed laws to recognise the link between animal abuse and domestic violence
  •  Allocated $500,000 to upgrade refuges to house animals fleeing violence
  •  Banned the production, possession and distribution of bestiality and animal crush videos
  •  Amended the Working With Children Check system to ensure animal abusers cannot work with children
  •  Stopped strata by-laws banning animals
  •  Had animals included on ADVOs
  •  Initiated a review into the lack of funding for animal cruelty enforcement
  •  Secured interim animal bans while abusers are still in court
  •  Raised $33k for animal sanctuaries during the bushfires
  • Passed numerous notices of motion on critical issues affecting animals, including motions calling for a ban on puppy farming, supporting humane action for horses in Kosciuszko National Park, condemning the fur industry, condemning the Agriculture Minister for refusing to ban battery cages, and calling for a review of animal hoarding laws
    Initiated multiple inquiries into animal protection issues, including the use of battery cages in the egg industry, the use of animals for experimental purposes, puppy farming, the use of animals in circuses and other entertainment, and a review of all animal protection laws in NSW.

I hope it gives you a lift too.  We are winning!

Emma Hurst
Emma Hurst is a Member of the NSW Legislative Council representing the Animal Justice Party. Born and raised in Sydney, Emma traces her passion for animal protection back to her childhood when she was cradling a hen. Realising the hen purred in the same way as her cat, Emma decided she could no longer eat animals, and made it her life goal to fight on behalf of those who are voiceless.