Ms Patten (Northern Metropolitan) — My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Agriculture, Ms Pulford. The action I call for from the minister is to examine the feasibility of legislation to create mandatory reporting of cases of suspected animal abuse — —
The PRESIDENT — Order! Under the standing orders Ms Patten is not allowed to call for legislation, and therefore for a review of legislation, so I wonder if she could change her action.
Ms Patten— Thank you, President. I will reword that. The action I call for is that the minister look at how we deal with the cases of animal abuse that are being seen by vets.
In situations of family violence, victims may extend beyond human families. In a 2014 survey by Dr Lydia Tong of the University of Sydney she found that 70 per cent of women escaping violent homes also reported pet abuse. Long the subject of academic research and discussion, the use of threats and violence against pets as a form of control has a firm place in the domestic violence discourse. Some reports have indicated that vets may in fact be the first to discover such cases of domestic violence.
While seeking support from a doctor at times is very difficult for those experiencing family violence, they will take their beloved pet to see the vet. Where a non-accidental injury is encountered, there is currently a requirement for such a case to be reported. I recently visited Lort Smith Animal Hospital, where staff told me of cases where people brought dogs in saying the dog ran into a door or got hit by a car, and the injuries certainly did not match what was being reported.
The Australian Veterinary Association includes the reporting of animal abuse in its guidelines but also maintains the importance of states developing some form of statutory protection against litigation and other reprisals against veterinarians in such cases. Currently vets who suspect cruelty should report it to the responsible authority, but in most cases they do not.
The action I am seeking is that the minister consider how we deal with cases of animal cruelty where the vet believes them to be linked to domestic violence and how we might be able to realise that these are indicators of domestic violence and that these — —
The PRESIDENT — Order! I thank the member. I am actually reminded by the Clerk that it is not a standing order that prevents calling for legislation but a Ruling from the Chair that goes back with precedent for quite a few presidents, so it is a practice of the house, if you like.