Below is the text of a letter sent by the RSPCA to every Local Authority in the country outlining its position on pet shops. Unfortunately we do not currently have the "attached" available that is referred to by Ms Tran, but the content of the letter is fairly self-explanatory.
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Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Patrons HM The Queen, HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Vice Patron His Grace The Archbishop of Canterbury
Registered charity no. 219099
November 5th , 1999
I am writing to ask if the Council will support an RSPCA campaign to improve animal welfare in pet shops.
The RSPCA is opposed to the sale of animals in pet shops. This opposition is based on our experience of the public buying pets on impulse and also on the poor welfare standards our staff witness in some shops themselves.
The sale of exotic species is cause for particular concern as staff may not be well-versed in how to care for them and consequently new owners often have even less knowledge of the animals' complex requirements. For example, they may not even be informed as to how long their pet will live or what size it will grow to. At best animals can become bored. At worst, they are becoming sick, suffering injuries and being abandoned when the scale of the commitment hits home.
Despite public concern and advice from organisations such as ourselves, many pet shops still sell live animals. The RSPCA is experiencing an alarming increase in pet shop cruelty and neglect. In the year Oct 98-99 the Society brought 68 cruelty convictions against pet shop staff compared with 26 the previous year. In many of these cases we believe that a more robust and comprehensive inspection and licensing regime would have prevented this unnecessary suffering.
In response to what it sees as a pressing problem, the RSPCA is calling on all local authorities across England and Wales to adopt the polices listed below when licensing pet shops (see attached).
The RSPCA is launching a national media campaign on November 10th to highlight the inadequacy of the current system to guarantee the welfare of animals in pet shops. I would be delighted to hear from you if you already do, or intend, to take a tough stance on licensing. You may be contacted by your local media with regards to your stance on pet shops.
By taking action now, the Council would be playing a vital part in improving the welfare of pet animals sold in your area.
If you would like any further information and advice, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Joceline Tran, Local Government Campaigns Officer
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