ABC’s Australia Wide this weekend ran a segment on the Victorian Labor government’s plans to shut down the widely condemned puppy factories across the state and stop the sale of puppies and kittens in retail outlets.

The segment featured interviews with Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford, Liz Walker CEO of the RSPCA, Matt Hams owner and operator (with father Colin) of one of Australia’s largest puppy factories, and Greg Kirby owner and operator of Upmarket Pets one of Melbourne’s most controversial pet stores.

The segment also featured images from the RSPCA and police raid on two neighbouring properties in Longwood, properties that had been referred to RSPCA by animal advocate organisation Oscars Law. That raid saw 4 dogs euthanised and 119 dogs seized.

The segment did its best to portray both sides of the argument however without a broad knowledge of the issue I guess it is easy to let a few lies and deliberately misleading statements slip through. When dealing with an industry that is at its most desperate due to the upcoming legislation you can be sure that they will not be holding nothing back, and when it is an industry that is renowned for thriving on animal cruelty you can rest assured that a few lies and misleading statements are going to have a huge impact on their moral standing.

Banksia Park Puppies - Colin & Matt Hams pride and joy

Banksia Park Puppies – Colin & Matt Hams pride and joy

With that in mind I thought I’d do a quick fact check on some of the claims made by Kirby and the Christmas Ham’s.

While neither the Ham’s or Kirby denied there was an issue with animal cruelty in puppy factories there are understandable differences of opinion in how to deal with the matter. Understandable due to Kirby and the Hams making a living from the industry and Pulford and Walker having to deal with the public outcry and the cost of clean-up and veterinary treatments after one is closed down or raided.

The Ham’s are always keen to tell the world that they would love to see these “rogue breeders” closed down. Just as I’m sure Coca Cola would like to see “rogue operators” like Pepsi and Schweppes close down. Every puppy factory shut down is less competition for them, one less supplier to the pet stores that the Ham’s rely on as retail vendors for their products.

The Ham’s also claim that the RSPCA have never found issue with their business Banksia Park Puppies. Unfortunately that claim does not stack up as I have mentioned in a previous article on the Ham’s business practices and woeful customer support.

“RSPCA Inspection reports obtained through Freedom Of Information Act detail Banksia Park Puppies employees picking up dogs by the scruff of the neck in a cruel manner that causes animal’s considerable pain and stress. According to the report the RSPCA had to then explain to staff the correct way to handle dogs. If this is how staff treat dogs while RSPCA inspectors are present one can only speculate how they are treated normally.”

Another lie the Ham’s like to tell is that they are open to people coming onto their property to see the conditions, many area’s are off limits. They also like to say that they invited animal advocates like Debra Tranter from Oscars Law to attend their open day.

Below are quotes from Tranters invitation which arrived care of Law 554 Solicitors.

“Dear Madam,

Matt Hamms, 5457 South Gippsland Highway, Longford, Victoria
ACA Breeding Kennels Stradbroke and now known as Banksia Park Puppies

We act for the abovementioned who instruct us they are inviting the public to the Park on Sunday, 15
November 2009.”

“We have been asked to advise you not to attend the premises, nor to cause any other person to attend at any time in the 12 month period and in particular on 15 November 2009.”

A critically ill cavalier - Proudly brought to you by the Ham's and Banksia Park Puppies

A critically ill cavalier – Proudly brought to you by the Ham’s and Banksia Park Puppies

When it comes to ending the evils in the pet industry, Greg Kirby from Upmarket Pets told Australia Wide

“We are the solution”

After looking at the way Kirby conducts his business seemingly filming unsuspecting female customers for purposes unclear, some may suggest he is only a solution if there is an empty prison cell somewhere.

Kirby, and a picture he used as his profile pic on facebook of a customers butt

Greg Kirby, and a picture he used as his profile pic on facebook of a customers butt

Kirby used some clever by half wordplay when he told Australia Wide that

“… it’s not true when people say all our dogs come from puppy farms and we don’t know where they’ve come from”.

It’s the all in that statement that is a bit tricky, I’m sure some of his puppies also come from backyard breeders but that doesn’t make his product sourcing any more ethical, far from it.

It is also important to note that I’m unaware of anybody making a bizarre claim that Kirby doesn’t know where his puppies come from as he states. The fact is he places orders for them from regular suppliers, they don’t just magically appear in his glass cages. The disturbing part is that Kirby does in fact know the hideous conditions his puppies come from and simply doesn’t care.

In fact when Kirby was asked by Fairfax last year about where his puppies came from he told them

“Yeah, we do get puppies from puppy farms”

Kirby’s Upmarket Pets showed how “upmarket” they are after proudly displaying a dead bunny for sale in one of their glass cages last year. Customers eventually pointed out to the less than attentive staff that the other bunnies were licking and snuggling up to the corpse Kirby was selling and it was eventually disposed of.

How much is that dead bunny in the window? - Another upmarket product from Upmarket Pets

How much is that dead bunny in the window? – Another upmarket product from Upmarket Pets

Perhaps the biggest lie sprouted came from Matt Hams when he repeated the claims he made on SBS’s Insight in 2014

“…but I if I could breed twice that we would sell them.”

At the time Ham’s first made that statement on SBS he declared he had 300 dogs. When he again made this claim of being unable to keep up with demand for Australia Wide for this weekend he told them he currently had 150 dogs.

I don’t claim to be a mathematical genius but I think the Christmas Ham’s may be even less so. The number Ham’s himself quotes would indicate that his business has halved over the last two years.

If Ham’s could sustain doubling his business now, he would still only be doing what he was two years ago. Hardly a growth business. Bearing in mind also, during this period he has seen numerous competitors shut down by the courts on cruelty charges.

Only a business made of fools would seek business advice from someone so mathematically and logically challenged. To prove this point the Pet Industry Association of Australia PIAA appointed him to their board last October.

Another of Ham’s lies is that Minister Pulford did not discuss this legislation with any industry stakeholders.

Matt Ham’s in fact met with Minister Pulford himself. While I’m sure Hams wasn’t stupid enough to show up with a T Bone in his hand that doesn’t make him any less a stakeholder, after all he is on the board of the pet industries and puppy factories chief lobby group PIAA and is also the owner of what is likely one of the largest puppy factories in the country. It is hardly the fault of Minister Pulford if he was unable to come up with anything of consequence to share at their meeting.

Minister Jaala Pulford - Not losing sleep

Minister Jaala Pulford – Not losing sleep

Minister Jaala Pulford has in fact met with industry stakeholders, government bodies, and animal advocacy organisations regarding this upcoming legislation and makes no apologies for honouring her election commitment.

Minister Pulford told Australia Wide she would not be losing sleep over those negatively impacted by her legislation, and nor should she. This was an issue the Daniel Andrews government went to the election on, giving them a mandate to act decisively.

For Pulford shutting down this cruel trade has been a two stage process. While some political opportunists have sought to criticise Pulford for the length of time involved, it is critical that the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed so this egg cannot be unscrambled by another government at a later date. Given this the public should be grateful that this legislation is in the hands of Minister Pulford.

I certainly am.

13 thoughts on “Breed – The final cries of Victorian puppy farmers

  1. Get a f@&king proper job instead of making money off these poor neglected dogs. Australia’s like a 3rd world country when it comes to animals welfare.

  2. I saw the Insight program where Matt Ham states he has 300 breeding dogs and would have 600 if allowed. I have been told by Banksia Park Puppies supporters they have seen the whole puppy farm on the two hour tour. They all swear Ham only has 50 breeding dogs! So where are the other 250 dogs hiding? He states he has 300 breeding dogs! A friend of mine has one of his ex breeding females. She adopted her from Noah’s Bark Rescue 1.5 year ago. This Cavalier is so traumatised she will never know a normal dogs life. How do Banksia care for 300 breeding dogs and their puppies? Apparently they pay a few school kids to come in after school and a disabled person to help out. Seriously? A huge business like this is relying on a few school kids to look after 300 dogs, plus puppies! They proudly talk about their ‘Agility park’ for the dogs. I’ve seen the photos. It’s covered in overgrown weeds, suggesting it’s never used. A painted piece of piping is not an agility park. Upmarket Pets has a horrific reputation. Nearly every weekend distressed members of the public post photos of sick puppies, kittens, rabbits from their window displays. Customers have written in reviews about buying pups/kittens from them only to have it become critically sick a few days later. That in itself proves Kirby isn’t fit to have any animals in his care.

  3. I wonder how many animals die in the hands of RSPCA. But no one knows??? They euthanise animals. They facilities are dirty and much worse than the people they prosecute. RSPCA are sick minded people who have power to hurt people with fines and bans. But we can’t forget they kill animals too. The claim to be a non profitable business but yet they are a big organisation who run a massive business. RSPCA is the Animal Mafia that sucks people into believing they care for animals. The compliance officers are incompetent and have no knowledge on animals. They are young people who cannot deal with there own sexuality!!! All the government wants is Money, so they use the RSPCA as an excuse. They want to run animal business and suck people into spending money through them. I’m all for small businesses and pet shops. As long as they are regulated. Government should leave the laws as is and not punish petshops. After reading upmarket pets stats on selling more than 2000 pups a year. How many complaints are recieved??? I bet you not many… Lets see what the stats are for the RSPCA… Will we don’t see any stats for them, go we? It’s all a big secret. How can this agent exist when they do not get audited by a separate body for the cruelty they do to people and animals

  4. Animals are like people. They can become sick. It’s normal…. So why do we constantly bad mouth petshop/breeders, when a puppy becomes sick. Like I said, It happens to people too. People who buy pets have to understand this snd deal with it and not blame someone for it. Geez if no animal or person got sick would be great but reality is they do. So accept it

  5. You’re right…

    We should display dead babies in shop windows and celebrate diseases and deformities brought on by things like inbreeding and birthparents that are racked with diseases and open infected wounds and that never receive medical treatment…

    if you eat food out of a toilet, don’t be shocked when it tastes like shit. When you buy your puppy from a pet store, don’t be surprised when it needs vet treatment for genetic disorders

  6. Actually the RSPCA’s figures are published annually and are publicly available

    I guess you are too young and busy struggling with your sexuality to have worried about checking first, or maybe you’re just one of the Troll Mafioso

  7. No mate I never said that at all. But I wouldn’t mind seeing how you live them I can compare.
    Lets visit the RSPCA and see how there cages? If you are prepared to bad mouth petshops and breeders lets tackle the people who police it too.
    You should make a difference and start to worry about all those homeless people who are scattered around Melbourne CBD ??? They are the ones the government needs to help. But people don’t care about human beings. They think of an animal being sold in a petshop.
    When it comes to sick animals being sold I agree with you but not to just pick one occasion or someone.
    Seriously homeless people living on the streets need caring for in Australia.

  8. I’m sorry I don’t believe what the government bodies state. Your living in a world full of corruption. And they brainwash people to be dumb. Say no more…..maybe corruption is what people are scared to admit!!!

  9. You have absolutely no idea what I do or don’t do for homeless people or any other cause for that matter….

    I have visited the RSPCA, as any member of the public can. I was impressed

  10. Haha Oz, the old “look at everyone else” offensive debate technique. Rarely used by those in a defensible position, because It suggests “we’re bad but we’re not the only bad ones, look!”

    If you’re going to defend puppy farms actually defend it, then I will listen.

  11. I never supported puppy farms… The so called back yarder shouldn’t be classified as a puppy farm. Really breeding hundreds of pups a year thy is a puppy farm. A few litters a year isn’t. So yeh tighten up the laws on those extreme puppy farms. I don’t agree with petshops not being able to sell pups. There is nothing criminal about that. Good on those who think all breeders are shonky but there are alot of genuine ones out there.

  12. I have visited Burwood RSPCA on many occasions and the conditions of the new premises are clean, comfortable, heated/cooled and the Staff are definately caring. Yes, they do have a retail outlet at the premises which brings funds to care for the animals they care for, Vetinary Care, RSPCA Officers. They do run Puppy School, which my pup went to. Why wouldn’t they, it’s part of the caring for dogs regime. Private Vets run puppy schools too. RSPCA don’t just care for dogs & cats. They take all animals. Horses, goats, chooks, all animals.
    Yes, animals get sick, but when a Pet Shop continually has sick animals in their shop, such as Upmarket Pets and Melbourne Cental Pet Shop, it’s evident they do not care about the animals health and do not seek Vet care. Many customers of these two Pet Shops have made complaints, especially about buying a puppy or kitten only to have it become critically ill a day or so after bringing it home. What about the dead rabbit in the glass cubical at Upmarket Pets? A member of the public had to bring it to their attention. That rabbit must have shown signs of illness long before it died and nothing was done. Kittens with weeping eyes should not be on display for sale in a Pet Shop. They should be getting Vet care and in a quiet place recovering. Not all Breeders are ‘ shonky’. There are hundreds of Registered reputable Breeders who care for their dogs and are doing it for love, making very little or no profit. Puppy Farmers, Intense Breeding Factories and Pet Shops are in it for the money. Pet Shops can cry all they want that they will go out of business, but there are hundreds of Pet Shops that do great business without selling puppies or kittens. No excuses.

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