Aussie star Susie Porter has sent a letter to NSW authorities urging them to take action to protect dogs.
The Wentworth actor penned a letter from a secret location in Thailand to the NSW Agriculture Minister urging him to criminalise puppy farming, a harmful, factory-style practice of breeding dogs that’s illegal in many places.
“This issue is of paramount importance. Let’s work together to protect dogs,” Porter wrote to Dugald Saunders.
“My plea to you is this: It’s time for urgent change. Every state must update their laws to stop this cruel, barbaric trade. The community will never accept the factory farming of dogs.”
Porter’s plea was endorsed by Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst, who has been campaigning for a law change that would attack the shadowy industry by limiting the amount of breeding females that businesses can have.
The Companion Animals Amendment (Puppy Farms) Bill would also limit female cats and dogs to two litters and place other restrictions on the breeding industry.
“Victoria recently outlawed puppy farming, and we are hearing from councils on the border of NSW and Victoria that puppy farmers are simply moving across the border into NSW where our weak laws do virtually nothing to protect companion animals,” she said.
The Bill has faced tough opposition from lobby group Dogs NSW, which said it would hamstring legitimate breeders while failing to stop illegal businesses.
“It will create huge incentives for unlicensed backyard operators, while legal, registered, professional breeders will be the collateral damage,” president Lyn Brand said earlier this month.
Porter wrote in her letter that feeling empathy for others was an essential requirement for an actor and hearing stories of animal cruelty in NSW had affected her deeply.
“When I heard that NSW has some of the weakest laws in Australia to protect dogs, I knew I had to shine a spotlight on this cruelty,” she wrote.
“I feel deeply affected by the experiences of these dogs. Laws must be put in place to protect them.”
Mr Saunders told NCA NewsWire that the government took the issue very seriously and tough new penalties were brought in last year.
“The NSW government takes action against puppy factories very seriously, and we continue to roll out a number of initiatives to stamp out unscrupulous operators in NSW,” the minister said.
He added that the government had sought community feedback on how to regulate pet breeders in NSW and a puppy factory taskforce had been created within the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which monitors breeders to make sure they follow the rules.
Porter, 51, recently starred alongside Zac Efron in survival thriller Gold.
“I am in Thailand shooting a project on an American streamer. More details will be released by the production company soon,” she told NCA NewsWire.
Her IMDB page lists two projects in the making, the drama film An Ordinary Day and television series Irreverent.
But a rep for the actor said neither of them was the Thailand project.