The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association has launched its own list of manifesto pledges that it wants to see from political parties as they ready themselves for a General Election next year.

The trade body will now be sending the manifesto pledges to the headquarters of all the main political parties.

And its Chief Executive has also written to the Chair of the Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to raise concerns contained in one of the pledges – the worrying lack of provision in live animal Border Control Posts at seaports in Great Britain.

“The majority of live ornamental fish arrive in the UK through airports but for those small businesses which currently bring fish in by road and ferry the appalling lack of Border Control Posts that will accept live animals is extremely concerning,” explained Chief Executive Dominic Whitmee.

“When the rules change next year there is just one facility at Sevington – serving Dover and the Eurostar – in the whole of Great Britain which will look at commercial movements of live animals coming by ferry. That’s all animals including farm animals and animals for the pet trade, such as ornamental fish. This will place enormous pressure on Sevington and all other live animal BCPs as people divert their supply routes to them. We believe this will result in massive delays with serious welfare impacts.

“We have raised this continually with Defra and the Government has recently announced a £20 million investment fund for seaports to build BCPs. But this has been offered before without success. This fund is too little, and far too late so our hope is that we can gather more support through raising the issue with the EFRA Committee to question the Defra Secretary of State about this issue.”

OATA’s manifesto pledges are:
Support pet ownership in all its forms – reject calls for bans of exotic or wild collected pets through the introduction of positive lists or other means. Instead look at ways to support people to successfully keep their pets throughout their life through education, advice and information.

Protect pet shops’ ability to sell live animals – support pet shops to continue to sell live animals by improving inspections, simplifying bureaucracy and regularising the fees local councils charge.

Require local authority inspectors to be trained in all pet species – make it mandatory for all local authority licensing officers to undertake good quality training in the pet species they are likely to encounter in pet shops.

Address the insufficiency in provision of live animal Border Control Posts (BCP) at seaports – to avoid serious animal welfare impacts, Government should rethink its approach to the provision of seaport facilities at the UK Border.

Read the OATA manifesto here.

Read the letter to Sir Robert Goodwill, Chair of the EFRA Committee.