OATA is a member of the Companion Animal Sector Council (CASC) which was set up to provide multi-stakeholder feedback to DEFRA, the Animal Health and Welfare Board England, Parliamentarians and other Government departments or agencies on policy issues which involve “companion animals” other than cats and dogs or equines.

CASC is currently involved in collating views from across the pet sector about their experiences of the English Licensing of Activities Involving Animals (LAIA) pet vending guidance, following Defra’s announcement of a five-year review of the English licensing regime.

OATA carried out a survey of its English members to gather views on their experiences of the licensing regime which we used to feed into CASC’s work.  Thank you to all those businesses which took part. Your help contributed to gaining a better understanding about the issues facing your business. There was some feedback around corals which we were unable to incorporate into this submission because corals do not come under this licensing regime (because they are not classed as animals).

Below is a summary of the key issues identified by OATA that need changing within the current English licensing regime which we fed into the CASC review:

  • Remove all higher standards: these are inconsistently applied and many are administrative in nature and make little tangible difference to animal welfare.
    Get rid of star rating system and adopt licences for 3 years as standard, with the possibility of a shorter term if minor failings are identified. This would significantly reduce the administrative burden for local authorities and businesses.
  • Standardise licence fees across the country.
  • Remove requirements that do not have a link to animal welfare improvements, either by reducing what needs to be reported or changing to exception reporting.
  • Address the continued inconsistencies in inspectors’ knowledge and implementation of conditions, such as requiring minimum training requirements for inspectors, including training specific to the animals being inspected; a central pool of inspectors as per Wildlife and Zoos Inspectorates; greater use of and better awareness of primary authority advice.