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The pet food industry in Australia need stronger regulation and independent oversight in order to meet the expectations of pet owners.

That’s the message of the RSPCA’s submission to the Inquiry into regulatory approaches to ensure the safety of pet food, which is currently being undertaken by the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee.

RSPCA Australia Scientific Officer (Companion Animals), Dr Bronwyn Orr, will be appearing at the public hearing of the inquiry in Sydney today via teleconference, and said the current model of industry self-regulation was not meeting the needs of Australian pet owners.

“The community quite rightly expects that when they buy a commercial pet food, they’re getting a product that’s safe and nutritious,” she said.

“Australians love their pets, and when they become sick, it’s a tragedy for the owners as well as the animals, which may have to endure serious health problems that may have been completely avoidable,” said Dr Orr.

“The RSPCA has been involved in working groups and reviews into the pet food industry since 2009, but despite these efforts, we’re still very concerned that regulation of the pet food industry under the current self-regulation model remains insufficient,

“We do believe an independent federal authority must enforce mandatory standards for all pet food products sold in Australia, from manufacturing to marketing,

“We also believe that manufacturers of pet food products must be required to undergo regular audits against these standards, with clear mechanisms in place to – for example – evoke mandatory product recalls when safety issues are identified,” said Dr Orr.

“Finally, we’re not just a nation of dogs and cats. We believe these standards should be extended to ensure the safety and nutritional quality of manufactured foods for birds, rabbits, reptiles, guinea pigs and other pets,” she said.

More information about the enquiry, including the RSPCA’s full submission, can be found at https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Rural_and_Regional_Affairs_and_Transport/SafetyofPetFood.

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