Report reveals exotic pets most at risk from ill treatment
Dogs living in squalor on puppy farms, exotic lizards being dumped and hundreds of rats crammed in a hutch eating each other due to stress are just some of the worst examples of the UK pet trade highlighted in a new report.
Animal charity OneKind's report, Pet Origins, has been published to launch a campaign calling for urgent reform of the pet vending industry, which the charity says has become simply too large and too unregulated.
There are an estimated 65 million pets in the UK with around 13 million households having pets says the report with the trade in exotic species seeing massive growth in recent years.
Due to their unsuitability for domestic keeping, many of these are suffering as a consequence or simply being dumped by their owners when the novelty of keeping an exotic pet wears off.
OneKind policy director Libby Anderson said: “The ease with which pets can be bought and sold on the internet has fuelled a growth in the pet trade industry which has made it impossible to regulate.
“The Pet Animals Act 1951 is in urgent need of review to bring it up to date and fit for purpose. The welfare issues of animals being traded as pets are of huge concern and the law as it stands affords them no protection, treating them as little more than commodities in a congested market.”
Examples in the report include a female bosc monitor lizard found dumped in a toilet in an Edinburgh Asda.
OneKind is now calling for a positive-list-based system to be implemented to address the trading and private keeping of non-domesticated and ‘wild’ pets.
Anderson added: “The positive list approach is one which has been adopted by a number of European countries and is proving the most effective way to ensure that only animals suited to living as domestic pets can be kept this way.
“We are urging politicians to embrace this positive approach which would not only significantly reduce negative welfare impacts on the species deemed unsuitable, but also reduce damage to biodiversity and risks to human and animal health.”