Diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans are known as zoonoses. When people keep any kind of pet there is the risk of infections being passed on but good hygiene measures usually would ensure this does not happen.

The issues around zoonoses have become very prominent since the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, particularly fuelling the campaigns calling for a ban on all wildlife trade across the globe. Poor hygiene and animal welfare standards should not to be tolerated but these campaigns are not as simple as they first appear and we are pleased that well-respected and independent organisations, such as IUCN’s Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Group, are highlighting the need to take care over the unintended consequences there would be if calls for such blanket bans were to be successful.

The threat of zoonoses is often used by animal campaign groups as a reason not to keep exotic pets but fish are probably handled a lot less than many four-legged, furry pets. Nevertheless there are a number of good hygiene standards we highlight on our care sheets, which are available for retailers to use when they sell any kind of fish.

What we are doing

  • During the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 we worked with a variety of different signatories to write an open letter about the need to reject calls for blanket bans on wildlife trade. We also worked with fellow pet trade associations to send Positive about Pets information to MPs to encourage them to support the availablity of a wide range of pet animals.
  • We encourage the industry to talk to customers about following simple hygiene tips to ensure disease does not spread.
  • All our caresheets contain hygiene tips to help stop the spread of disease.
  • We created our own Zoonoses document to help set out good practice.