Introduction of new Herding rules for Queensland effective 26th March 2012
The current rules allowing gripping are inappropriate with the ever-increasing public and media scrutiny for a practice which is a recreational activity. The CCCQ Constitution and Rules support animal welfare as described in the more recent animal protection legislation and do not condone this behaviour.
This particular matter has been brought to the attention of the RSPCA who have written to the ANKC. In Queensland the DPI and Biosecurity Queensland are also monitoring many of our practices. Council noted that not one of the state herding rules review proposals had addressed the issue.
The ANKC Code of Ethics states “A member shall not engage in any behaviour that is contrary to the standards accepted by the community.”
Animal welfare is an important issue within the Australian community. Herding is a sport which involves not only dogs, but other animals as well. These must be cared for appropriately, worked with minimal stress, similar to the concern for dog welfare in all Dogs Qld sports and activities.
Effective immediately, the following rules will take precedence over ANKC Herding Rules and Regulations which contradict or overlap these rules in any way (approved by Council on 26/3/2012).
All persons (exhibitors, judges, stock handlers, trial managers etc.) should accept and implement the intent of the rules.
In particular, all judges officiating at Dogs Qld Herding tests and trials must adhere strictly to these rules. Affiliates contracting judges from interstate and overseas are responsible for informing those judges of these rules and ensuring that they agree to judge by these Dogs Qld standards before finalising contracts.
Dogs Qld Herding Rules for the welfare of livestock:
Enforcement of existing rules
These include but are not limited to:
1.13.4 “The safety and well being of the livestock and the dogs is of paramount importance and must be kept in mind at all times”.
2.3.1 “The Affiliate Member is responsible for providing the stock, fencing, facilities and equipment which meet the requirement of these regulations.”
2.3.3 “The Judge is responsible for ensuring compliance with these regulations throughout a Herding Test/Trial, and that the livestock are properly cared for and rotated as needed”.
4.7.1 “Stock shall be rotated so that a rested group is used for each run in all Courses.”
Explanatory notes relating each point above:
2 & 3 The current rules do not allow muzzles to be worn in herding trials and tests except the first test, the HIC. By allowing the wearing of muzzles will ensure the recreational dog rules comply with current government requirements and complies with the RSPCA recommendations. ANKC Herding sport is not only for dogs bred from working lines, but is also for dogs from many breeds bred for pet and show characteristics over generations. Disallowing all gripping and introducing a muzzling rule will mean the stock will be protected. Muzzles must be the type suitable for working dogs and be properly fitted and well secured.
It is important that all judges be fully informed about livestock stress. In keeping with the ANKC Code of Ethics, that “a member shall not engage in any behaviour that is contrary to the standards accepted by the community”, it is important that the practices implemented by Dogs Qld for herding are not inferior to those in similar activities conducted by other recreational groups. In sheepdog trials conducted in Australia by other associations, a judge would always stop a run in these circumstances. Consequently judges rarely need to, because handlers make that decision themselves and retire. A dog is always learning from what is happening. So if the handler is not in control of the dog, the dog is learning wrong behaviours which will then need to be corrected by training. The dog will continue to exhibit wrong behaviours at future trials. It is preferable for the handler, the dog and the livestock if handlers use their own judgement to retire gracefully rather than be disqualified.
5. The current rules for ‘Removals, Excusals, Disqualifications and Re-evaluations’ have not been applied consistently. Protection and the welfare of stock are among the reasons for these penalties. Details of incidents that result in such penalties must be documented in the relevant reports. 1.13.4 “The safety and well being of the livestock and the dogs is of paramount importance and must be kept in mind at all times”.
6. Judges and affiliates have not consistently adhered to the reporting requirements for trials and tests as stipulated in the in the rules. Reporting need not be onerous to fulfil the obligation. The existing forms/reports will be amended to include more specific questions.
Failure to adopt, implement and enforce these rules will result in the commencement of a formal ‘breaches’ process as described in the CCCQ Constitution.
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