Above: Success in NSW: but in the UK birdkeepers are fighting DEFRA’s plans to closely monitor anyone who makes a profit from selling birds. If you sell stock through what DEFRA deem to be ‘organised events’, such as sales days, then this is deemed to be outside the scope of licensing for an AAL


LEGISLATION THAT WOULD have classified many bird breeders in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, as “commercial” has been scrapped following public protest.

Being put in a similar position to the proposed Animal Activities Licence (AAL) from DEFRA – which could affect thousands of UK birdkeepers (see News, March 21 & 28) – hobbyists in Australia pushed back against a Government initiative that may have subjected them to the same rules as commercial petshops.

A Facebook campaign backed by thousands of birdkeepers, pure-breed dog owners and reptile keepers protested against the legislation using the hashtag #IMNOTAPETSHOP.

On April 18, the NSW Government announced that it would go back to the drawing board for the development of its draft welfare standards and guidelines (S&Gs) for petshops and bird and animal breeders.

Under the original proposal, pet owners and breeders who sold, traded, donated or advertised the sale of an animal or bird from their home or online would be classified as “petshop owners” and subject to strict health and safety rules.

The Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair, explained why the department had scrapped its plans: “We consulted stakeholders across the board and what we heard was that the draft S&G’s proposed were missing the mark. The draft S&G’s aimed to improve welfare outcomes for pets. Despite the Department of Primary Industries’ best intentions, they acknowledge that the drafts, as they were presented, would have had unintended consequences for some pet owners, breeders and traders.”

The Canary and Cage Bird Federation of Australia (CCBFA) was one of the birdkeeping organisations that strongly opposed the guidelines. President Sam Davis said: “Common sense has prevailed. Hobbyists will NOT be classified as petshops. A new consultative process that includes CCBFA as a central stakeholder will begin in due course.

“Many thanks to all our affiliate clubs and their members for such fantastic support.”

He continued: “This campaign proves that aviculture, when it works together, has a voice and can influence government policy and direction.”

For more news from Cage & Aviary Birds, click here.