All aquatic retailers which sell fish need a pet shop licence from their local authority to trade. However, OATA has long argued that the current system for licensing pet shops does not provide consistent standards across the whole of the UK. You can read more here about our work highlighting this lack of consistency.

While we wait for improvements to the system, we decided to do something for ourselves. So in 2015 we set up a Primary Authority Partnership arrangement with the City of London Corporation for pet shop licensing (and health & safety issues).

We believe our scheme, which is free and exclusive to OATA members, shows that those who join take animal welfare seriously by signing up to high standards. Retailers who sign up must follow an inspection plan (based on the CIEH’s Model Conditions for Pet Vending 2013).

What’s involved?

By joining our Primary Authority schemes your local council still inspects your shop and gives you the licence. But they have to follow the inspection plan we’ve agreed with the City of London Corporation (you can see a summary of that here). That means your local authority shouldn’t be able to come up with strange and outlandish conditions. If they do, tell us and we’ll ask the City of London Corporation to give us ‘assured advice’ which you can then take to your local authority to follow. Unless there’s a very good explanation for the additional conditions, they should be dropped.

Pet shop licences are there to demonstrate animal welfare. By signing up, you can show to your customers that you’re following high standards for animal welfare and you’ve volunteered to do this by entering this scheme. Can other establishments in your area say the same?

Four reasons to sign up:

  1. You know exactly what to expect – you can see the inspection plan that your local authority will use (based on the Model Licensing Conditions for Pet Vending 2013 from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health). See a summary of the plan here.
  2. No more outlandish conditions – OATA will fight any unreasonable conditions put on members of the scheme following the best advice from the City of London Corporation.
  3. Show you’re the best – it’s a great marketing tool to show your customers you abide by high standards for animal welfare for pet shops.
  4. No charge – if you’re an OATA member you can sign up to this scheme for free, although you will still pay your local authority’s normal fees for an inspection visit. You must also have signed up to our Code of Conduct.

Who would benefit?

  1. Retailers with more than one shop in different authority areas
  2. If you’ve ever had strange and unreasonable conditions put on your licence in the past
  3. If you want to show your customers that you work to high animal welfare conditions in comparison to your competitors

Want to know more?

Check out our frequently asked questions section.

You can also watch the Better Regulation Delivery Office’s video about Primary Authority schemes and the benefits they can bring to businesses.

Want to sign up?

OATA Members fill in the form at the link below – it’s that simple:

Primary Authority Joining Form

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To find out more about our work lobbying on pet shop licences