In the lobby industry there are those who bend the truth to suit their agenda, there are those who pedal the “glass half full” approach to their chosen issue, there are those who research and data to emphasise an issue that is being neglected, and there are those who front up and tell outright lies and hope they aren’t caught in the web of their own deception.
Matt Ham’s from the Pet Industry Association Of Australia fits into the latter of these types, and unfortunately for the cruel industry he represents he has shoved both feet in his mouth and emerged with athlete’s foot on his breath.
Matt Hams is on the board of PIAA, the pet industry and puppy factory lobby organisation, he is also the controversial owner of one of Australia’s best known puppy factories Banksia Park Puppies.
Banksia Park Puppies and Matt Hams have previously shown how much respect they have for their own industry codes and the law which allowed for two litters in an 18 month period at the time of this linked article. The article includes leaked documentation which proves that Banksia Park Puppies had a large number of dogs illegally producing three litters in an 18 month period, one unfortunate dog producing four litters. Despite breaking the law and the industry code PIAA welcomed Matt with open arms when it should have slammed the door in his face. It says a lot about the PIAA board when they put out the welcome mat for someone of such questionable integrity.
Banksia Park Puppies is located in Victoria where the Daniel Andrews government has made a commitment to the public to shut down the puppy factories and not tip-toe around the issue as other states have done.
Hams has come out swinging with the backing of PIAA and has lobbied Coalition MP’s and cross-bench MP’s in Victoria. Hams arguments have been convincing ones based around three major points:
- Demand for their products (puppies) is increasing
- Labor’s legislation will put him and others like him out of business
- The legislation will drive business online which would be disastrous for animal welfare.
Research and documentation have proven that Ham’s has been lying directly to the faces of these MP’s. Those MP’s who have been lied to will now have a duty to not only their electorate, but also themselves to support Labor’s legislation that they went to the election promising.
For Leader Of The Opposition Matthew Guy this news may come as a gift considering he has some MP’s in marginal inner city seats, electorates where animal welfare is a major issue and a vote changer.
This week it has been discovered that Matt Hams has purchased a property in Finley NSW and has had an application for a breeding facility for up to 100 dogs approved by Berrigan Shire Council.
Matt Hams apparently does not know the difference between being put out of business and relocating. Either that or he is content to lie at every available opportunity.
Matt Hams explained to Fairfax when approached on this matter
“”no plans at the moment” to operate in Finley. “It’ll depend completely on the outcome here in Victoria,” “
When Ham’s talks about “no plans” I wonder what he considers plans are if they don’t include the purchase of a property worth approx. $500K and a development application through a council.
Wixxyleaks has visited the previously boarding kennels and now vacant site in Finley and spoken to some very disgruntled neighbours who have grave and legitimate concerns. The site itself is not fit to house 100 breeding dogs and their puppies.
None of the neighbours I spoke with have had any consultation with council on Hams’ application and were totally unaware of who had purchased the property or what their intentions were. Their concerns ranged from the noise of 100 dogs, the increased road traffic in the quiet area brought on by a retail/wholesale business such as Hams, as well as the treatment of waste such as dog faeces. The area is primarily a dairy farmer industry, there are legitimate concerns that the noise from barking and howling dogs may spook cows and impact on their ability to produce milk, thus possibly creating a financial burden to those in an already suffering industry.
As Oscar’s Law founder Debra Tranter stated
“Matt Hams has been assuring MP’s and the media that he will be forced to close his business. The joint purchase of this property with a pet shop shows that not only is he comfortable lying to the public, but also to elected officials.”
Hams is right about the demand for puppies increasing, that’s what happens with population growth, however he neglects to mention that the demand for unethically bred puppies is declining at a drastic rate as Hams is already aware of.
Hams told SBS in 2012 that he had 300 breeding dogs and could use 600. Hams has told various members of the media he currently has 150 dogs. That’s his business halved in a relatively short time. However perhaps most indicative of Matt’s belief in “increased demand” is his application for 100 breeding dogs in Finley where he is planning for a further 33% drop to his already declining business.
As with any declining business trying to put off the inevitable Hams is looking at ways of cutting costs. One of those savings is to come from cutting out the middle man, those being the pet store owners he is supposed to represent in his role at PIAA.
Hams is doing this by going into partnership with pet store owner Nick Croom so they can sell puppies online.
Yes you read right “online”.
The very place that Hams has been telling anyone who will listen is the land of the cowboy and unethical. Well now these cowboys can welcome Matt “The Duke” Hams to their posse. Hams is so concerned about online puppy sales being unethical that he has decided to stop fighting them and embrace them instead.
Croom’s online business currently happily freights tiny 8 week old puppies all over the country in cargo holds, as does Banksia Park who allegedly even supply fellow PIAA board member John Grima’s Kellyville Pets store, that is surrounded by dinosaurs, perhaps indicative of the era Grima’s mind is in when it comes to animal welfare and ethical breeding.
This pair makes a great team, below is the photo of a dog named Max in the arms of an employee of Pines Pets pet store.
Max was a product of Banksia Park Puppies and as the linked letter from a vet shows was plagued from genetic disorders the result of being bred from animals unfit for breeding. This led to massive veterinary bills for all sorts of genetic disorders the vet blamed Banksia Park Puppies breeding practices for.
Max was one-year-old at the time, so by this stage Hams would have likely made thousands of dollars off up to two more litters from these dogs unfit to breed according to the vet. Max was euthanised due to his condition described by the vet as a “genetic disaster”.
Matt Hams has shown he is happy to lie to whoever will listen, is happy to embrace what he claims to be morally opposed to, and happy to profit from cruelty for as long as he possibly can. If Matt is supposed be one of the industry good guys one wonders what it says about the rest.
In a reaction to Matt Hams statements and lobbying Debra Tranter responded
“Matt’s behavior has proven two things, that the legislation if passed will work in closing down Victorian puppy factories, and that we must continue to lobby every state government until we achieve nationally consistent legislation.”
There is little doubt that it is primarily due to the public’s response to campaigns that have highlighted the perfectly legal, but highly unethical practices that produce puppies in pet store windows that the pressure is now on governments on to shut down this stain on what should be a happy occasion for all, the welcoming of a new member to ones family.
Let’s hope Mike Baird wakes up and realises that despite his stance on greyhound racing he has now become the soft state for puppy factories thanks to the actions of the Daniel Andrews government.
I would also encourage readers in Victoria to contact both their lower and upper house MP’s as soon as they can and let them know how you feel about the puppy factories and the deceitful nature of their lobbyists and their tactics.
Due to the upcoming Victorian legislation and the pressure this will hopefully put on other state governments, Wixxyleaks has decided to create a Puppy Factory and Pet Industry Resource Page.
This page will be a constant work in progress and will have documentation and information on puppy factories, unethical breeders, pet stores, and pet industry lobby groups and their prominent members
This can be used as a tool for media, government, or advocates. It may also be a useful research tool for prospective pet owners.
If anyone has any information please forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org