Queensland veterinarians have applauded Premier Bligh's initiatives to curb the number of unwanted dogs and cats euthanased each year, but say they don't go far enough.
"Mandatory registration and microchipping of pets will certainly reduce the number of unwanted pets that are put down, as will some other initiatives proposed by the Premier. However, much more can be done to address the problem," said Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) spokesperson and Queensland veterinarian, Dr Craig Pullen.
"Consistent rules and enforcement across all local councils in the state will be critical to make inroads to the number of unwanted animals that are euthanased each year."
The Australian Veterinary Association also believes strongly in the role of education in managing the problem.
"Education programs like the AVA's PetPEP program in Queensland schools increase the levels of socially responsible pet ownership, which is an important first step.
"General public education will also have an important effect - for example to discourage members of the public from feeding stray cats and helping councils manage them instead," says Dr Pullen.
"We urge the Premier to ensure that the microchipping program follows best practice and learns from the mistakes of other states in its implementation. Resources will be needed to set up systems that work and ensure that new rules are enforced.
"Regulation of pet shops as proposed is also an important step forward," says Dr Pullen.
"However, only 8-11% are bought from pet shops, so all other sources of pets need to be regulated too. These include animal shelters, breeders, pounds and animal rescuers.
"The AVA is particularly concerned about a real lack of regulation of backyard breeders."
"The problem of unwanted dogs and cats is a complex one, but veterinarians have the knowledge and expertise to help find evidence-based solutions," concluded Dr Pullen.