Pets play an important part in our society and they come in all shapes and sizes. It’s estimated 12 million UK households own a pet and people spend around £8 billion a year on them – from food to accessories and veterinary care.

All that cash generates taxes of more than £2.7 billion annually and provides jobs to 50,000 people in the UK. There are more than 3,000 pet shops in the UK and approximately 2,000 of these sell tropical fish. Our industry alone employs around 12,000 people, mainly in SMEs, all of whom contribute to UK tax revenue. And there are four million UK households which own fish – that’s about 14% of the population – and they spend between £400-500 million a year on their hobby.

Pets also help us stay healthy and are estimated to save the NHS around £2.7 billion a year. We estimate that the benefits of pet ownership, in terms of tax generated and NHS spending spared, is about £5.4 billion a year. Research has shown that aquariums have been found to improve behaviour and staff satisfaction in dementia units and an aquarium in the dining room of a care home has been shown to improve appetite among residents.

Not everyone can have a dog, cat or small mammal as a pet so it’s important to have a wide variety of species that can be kept as a pet. This is why we do not support positive lists for pets, which seek to limit the type of animals people can keep as a pet. Educating people to pick the right pet for their lifestyle and care for it properly is the key to happy and healthy pets.


What we are doing

  • We firmly believe that educating people to find the right pet for their lifestyle is the key to happy and healthy pets. That’s why we have created a range of care sheets, how to videos and pet guides to help people find the right fish for them. We are working with fellow pet industry trade associations and the Pet Charity to create a one stop shop for people to find useful information to help them when they research getting a pet.
  • We are also part of the Pet Advertising Advisory Group which aims to help people buy pets responsibly. We helped PAAG with contents for its website helping people buy a pet online. Find it here.
  • We are working with the Companion Animal Sector Council and a number of vet associations to create the Pet Know How online quiz for first time pet owners to take to show they have researched the animal they want to buy.
  • We are working with European pet trade organisations to raise awareness among politicians about why positive lists of pets (which seeks to stop certain species being kept as a pet) is not the solution. Education is the key, not bans.
  • We have worked with fellow pet trade association to ask MPs to be Positive About Pets and support access to a wide range of pet animals.
  • We respond to Government consultations on these types of issues, including the 2018 Animal Welfare (Sentience & Sentencing) Bill. You can read our response here.