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PCT warns of legislation

The Pet Care Trust (PCT) has warned that proposed new animal welfare legislation could cost the nation’s pet industry dear with lost jobs and even closure of some operators.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says it has received widespread support for a new Animal Welfare Bill that would consolidate and update 10 different pieces of legislation.

The PCT has its own code of conduct, the Pet Care Charter, which it would instead like to see incorporated into the requirement of the pet shop licence.

But it fears new legislation, restricting the publics right to won pets, will not be in the interests of animal welfare. Those involved in the consultation process were, for example, asked to comment on a proposal to keep exotic or dangerous animals as pets. Steve Zlotowitz, PCT retail director, says, “Almost all pet animals could be classed as “exotic”.

“Exotic means foreign. Hamsters are exotic. Sheep are exotic. Sheep are exotic! Because they are not native to this country. Unusual species kept today may well have the potential to become the common pets of the future.”

He said this was something that should be encouraged rather than controlled. If children did not hae access to “exotic” species as pets how could they be expected to want to conserve them when they became adults?

“No species that has ever become popular pet has ever become extinct. We think the word “exotic” is misused by anti-pet keeping groups,” he said.

The PCT puts responsible pet keeping and education top of its agenda. It considers that its Pet Care Charter and Local Government Association guidelines adequately provide for the high standards of welfare necessary for pets.

It warns that the continuing improvements made in welfare and nutrition and in other areas of pet care must not be constrained by legislation that will inevitably quickly become out of date and lead to poorer conditions for the pets, responsible pet owners love to keep.

“We see Britain as a nation of animal lovers. A small minority mistreat animals. Education continues to be the best way to prevent this happening,” said Zlotowitz.

“Unfair legislation would make it made more it mroe difficult for people to keep pets. That will affect quality of life and the nation will be poorer for it.”

For further information call Stephen Jeffery, operations manager 01234-273933 or Steve Zlotowitz 0115-9174955 or 07771-1664858.