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Federated Farmers in fantasy land over dogs

12 November 2003 Media Statement

Federated Farmers in fantasy land over dogs

Figures from Federated Farmers on the costs of microchipping dogs are ridiculous, Local Government Minister Chris Carter said today.

"To suggest that microchipping and a national database will waste $25m a year would be laughable if it wasn't so irresponsible," Mr Carter said.

"Federated Farmers argues that the dog database will cost as much as the motor vehicle register but the motor vehicle register is huge with 8.8m transactions occurring on it a year. For the administration cost of a national dog database to be even remotely comparable, every dog owner in New Zealand would have to re-register their dog or change its details more than 20 times a year. It’s a joke.

"What is more, Federated Farmers has completely over looked the fact that each council already manage its own database on dogs to maintain the details of dog registrations," Mr Carter said.

"All of these 74 databases have a cost. They are inefficient and ineffective. What is more wasteful, 74 databases or one?"

"The 150,000 farm dogs that are in the country at present will NOT have to be microchipped unless they are deemed dangerous, menacing or caught roaming. Only new puppies registered from June 2006 will be affected, and the cost of microchipping – possibly as low as $30 - will be a one off cost for each dog.

"Federated Farmers wants Parliament to revert to the select committee proposal regarding microchipping but this proposal will still require councils to set up a national database and buy all the equipment to introduce microchipping for use on a smaller number of dogs. The proposal will still incur most of the cost with little of the benefit.

"Roaming dogs which attack sheep and spread diseases are a constant problem for farmers. Microchipping, a national database, and improved powers to crack down on unregistered and roaming dogs will increase the ability of dog control officers to deal with those dogs and sheet home responsibility to owners.

"I would have thought a body representing the interests of farmers would welcome such initiatives, particularly since dog attacks on expensive stock is a problem that is costing farmers money. Curiously, Federated Farmers opposed provisions before the select committee which would have increased the onus on dog owners to contain their dogs on their properties and not allow them to roam," Mr Carter said.

"I invite Federated Farmers to reconsider its position on this issue as it is acting contrary to the interests of its members."

ENDS

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