Pet Food Industry

25 November 2021

For close to four years now I've been raising the issue of unsafe pet food, the pets who have died, the manufacturers who were responsible and the governments who have failed to act. There have been four years of delay, four years of inaction, four years without anyone taking any form of responsibility.

I have been told time and time again that state and federal ministers intend to meet to discuss reforms. Most recently they were due to discuss it at the start of November. It seems that those intentions don't mean much. In fact, they don't really mean anything. Again and again I find out that these meetings never happened or the issues don't get discussed or given the priority they deserve. The same thing happened earlier this month. They now want a cost-benefit analysis of reforms that I understand are only the lightest of regulatory and non-regulatory steps they can possibly take.

We have already waited four years since dogs started dying of megaesophagus and three years since the Senate inquiry that I instigated handed down its report—three years. That report recommended mandatory standards in labelling and improved recall and, particularly, public reporting systems. These slow-acting agricultural ministers don't seem to understand how important this issue is to pet owners, to our constituents. After three years we don't want light-touch and indecisive action; we want results. We want to know that what happened to those 100 dogs in 2017 and 2018 won't happen again. The federal government and their state and territory counterparts should be acting with urgency, but, like an errant new puppy, they are chewing up paperwork and have dropped the ball.

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