The ACCC is proposing to reject an application for authorisation by the Australian National Kennel Council Limited (ANKC) to amend its code of ethics to require members to register all of their dogs with the local ANKC member body or certain overseas canine organisations.
The ACCC’s draft determination notes ANKC member bodies are Australia’s largest purebred canine pedigree registration service providers. ANKC and its member bodies aim to promote breeding and ownership, dog showing and other related activities for purebred dogs.
Currently, the ANKC code of ethics only permits breeding from purebred dogs of the same breed that are registered on the ANKC’s ‘main register’; and requires members to register all the resulting, purebred, puppies, without specifying the registration body.
Under the proposed amendment to the code, members must register all dogs bred or owned by them with an ANKC member body or certain overseas body, and not just the dogs in ANKC’s main purebred categories.
Some members may currently breed or own dogs that are not able to be bred under existing ANKC registration rules. These include dogs that do not meet ANKC requirements (including colours), dogs recognised as purebred by competing registration bodies but not by ANKC, crossbred dogs or dogs of new breeds not recognised by ANKC.
ANKC’s proposed compulsory registration with a member body would mean that members would no longer be able to breed these dogs.
“We have received submissions from breeders and organisations strongly opposed to this proposal,” ACCC Commissioner Stephen Ridgeway said.
“We are concerned that requiring breeders and owners to register all of their dogs with an ANKC member body, instead of letting them choose which dog registration service to use, will reduce competition in purebred dog registration services and reduce choice for breeders.”
“Only an ANKC member can breed purebred dogs that are registered on ANKC’s main register, which are important for those members who want to participate in dog shows for purebred dogs or export purebred dogs internationally. This is because ANKC has mutual agreements and affiliation with a significant number of international bodies and local breeding clubs,” Mr Ridgeway said.
The ANKC claims amendments to the code would protect vulnerable dogs, for example by preventing overbreeding, because the ANKC code allows for less frequent breeding than rival registration bodies.
“While we support the ANKC’s stated intention to improve the health and welfare of dogs and ensure that people have accurate information when they purchase a dog from a breeder, we do not consider that this registration requirement is likely to be an effective way to achieve this,” Mr Ridgeway said.
Feedback on the draft determination is invited by 29 October 2019.
The draft determination is available at Australian National Kennel Council
Authorisation provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.
Without authorisation, ANKC’s proposed registration requirement would be at risk of breaching the Act.
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