21 December, 2014. 18:24
CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
In what is sure to be an exceptionally controversial move, the Newman Government has this week announced that it is rolling out a trial program that will see qualified veterinarians present at selected Queensland dog fights.
This follows a recent survey conducted by PETA which reports that 11.6% of Queenslanders have been to an organised dog fight, with a startling 7.2% of residents of the sunshine state having attended an organised dog fight in the past year.
Queensland’s high dog fighting attendances (more than 300% higher than that of New South Wales) has resulted in many animal welfare groups branding Queensland as a state that is behind the times.
“That is ridiculous to say that we live in the past up here, it’s only one hour and it’s only for half the year anyway” was the reply from Premier Campbell Newman’s office when contacted last night.
“Dog fighting in our state is at plague proportion.” explains Young liberal representative, Angus Harvey-Ross.
“We’ve been attempting to combat this by liaising with law enforcement and increasing education programs – but it’s plain to see that we’re losing the battle.”
“We’ve now decided to change our plan of attack and try implement a strategy that focuses on harm minimisation.”
The plan has been likened to the development of injection rooms in intravenous drug use hotspots such as Kings Cross.
“I think that’s a great analogy, when the injection rooms first opened the general public were up in arms, they were beside themselves – bloody ropable, but after a few months people either forgot or stopped caring – we’re hoping that a similar thing will happen with our program.”
The program will be trialled in South Western Queensland, which is considered the dog fighting capital of the Southern Hemisphere. If the program is viewed as a success, it has the potential to be rolled out nationwide.
It is estimated that 63% of the animals who pass away at dog fights could be saved with prompt veterinary care.
“We’ve done a lot of soul searching in the lead up to this program and we’ve agonised over the morals and ethics but at the end of the day we’ve come to a decision – the wellbeing of the dogs is our greatest concern – and we refuse to idly stand by while any of these athletes are put at risk through improper medical care.”
It is thought that many owner/trainers are reluctant to take their dogs to a vet as they fear ostracism or prosecution if it was to became widely known that they were involved in the dog fighting subculture.
“Our service will be absolutely confidential and no one should fear any sort of retribution from the police or anybody else. This will be a judgement free service and we really hope some of these fight hosts do the responsible thing and get in touch with us.”
NOTE: THIS STORY ORIGINALLY STATED THAT “VETERINARIANS WERE TO BE PROVIDED BY THE RSPCA” THIS IS INCORRECT. WE APOLOGISE TO THE QLD RSPCA AND THEIR SUPPORTERS.