Trade body OATA is warning that aquatic shops and wholesalers could face a terrible choice to euthanise their livestock because rocketing energy bills are making their business unviable.
OATA has today written to the Prime Minister to alert him to the crisis facing businesses within the home aquarium industry if nothing is done to support them through the energy crisis. And it is asking aquatics businesses to add their voice by writing to their MPs to ask for help to highlight their plight.
Like many businesses, aquatics firms face huge energy bill hikes to keep their tanks heated and maintained but this is coupled with mounting concerns over how to manage the inevitable animal welfare issues if they are forced to close.
In addition, with increasing numbers of customers also closing down tanks, aquatic shops are facing more requests to rehome pet fish, because there is limited ability to rehome them elsewhere. Fish are the most populous pet, with industry estimates of 100 million fish to be found in homes and gardens across the UK.
“We have heard of businesses facing 300 to 400% price increases in their energy bills – just one example we’ve heard is a business’s monthly bills going from just under £4,000 to £15,000 while one wholesaler is facing an increase of a million pounds a year. These sorts of cost increases are unsustainable for any company but when you look after live animals you can’t just switch off and turn your back on your business. That means many businesses will face a critical dilemma about what to do with the livestock they hold, raising a very serious risk of mass euthanasia,” said OATA’s Chief Executive Dominic Whitmee.
“This issue is becoming extremely serious and we believe the aquatics industry is the hardest hit of all in the pet sector because of its energy requirements. We are asking the Prime Minister to take urgent and meaningful action soon. Without it there is no doubt we will witness many aquarium businesses closing their doors for good, leaving employees without work during a time of crisis, and millions of pet fish at risk of euthanasia because there is not the ability to rehome them like other pets.”