22 September 2014

ProPets, a coalition of pet trade associations, is calling on political parties to recognise the benefit that pets bring to society in the manifestos they will launch in the run-up to next year’s election.

In a five point call to action, ProPets also wants to see all political parties commit to introducing school pets into the National Curriculum so that pupils learn about looking after animals and to introduce secondary legislation to ensure consistent welfare standards in pets shops and other organisations such as rehoming centres and breeders.

The coalition of seven trade associations has created a document highlighting the benefits to society of pets, the members and aims of ProPets and outlining what it would like to see in party manifestos, which has been circulated to key politicians in the biggest political parties. It plans to follow this up with another publication, to be sent to all candidates standing for election in May 2015.

Keith Davenport of the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA), who is currently acting as Chair of Propets, said:

“The seven participating trade associations understand that we have common members and by co-operating can bring high level messages that we have in common onto the political stage at this vital time.

“At the last election we prepared a leaflet which was distributed to around 3,000 of the candidates standing for election. We are deep into preparations to do the same again this time around.

“We must ensure that politicians understand and take account the invaluable role of pets in society and the part our industry plays in keeping pets healthy and their owners happy. That says nothing of the economic benefits the country also derives from our sector in taxes.

“Encouragingly we have already heard from a shadow spokesperson on animal welfare that our thoughts will be taken into consideration as manifesto discussions proceed. We are also hopeful that we may be asked to make a presentation and discuss the points we have raised at the Associate Parliamentary Group on Animal Welfare ((APGAW).”

NOTES TO EDITORS

This document from ProPets was circulated in an email to MPs with a covering note raising these additional points.

Though we are asking for better inspections standards for pet shop licensing we must add that we believe they are already the most publicly visible animal husbandry systems in the UK. This is not a contradiction but underscores our commitment to animal welfare:

  • Pet shops are licensed annually
  • Complaints against pet shops are routinely followed up by licensing officers
  • The footfall of members of the public through pet shops each year is equivalent to the entire population of the UK

The levels of scrutiny to which pet shops are subject are massive compared to private sales over the internet, private breeders or rehoming centres. For further context during 2013 of the 400,000 farm enterprises in the UK just 0.5% received inspections for welfare reasons (see https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/337561/welfareinspections-dataset2013-31jul14.xl)