Sunday, December 30, 2018

Pet Shops in Britain Can No Longer Sell Cats and Dogs

It’s been a gloomy Christmas for pet shops in Britain. The government plans to introduce legislation in 2019 to prohibit pet shops engaging in sales of dogs and cats. It will hold public consultations before making it law. It could well be termed Lucy’s Law to honor a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The spaniel died in 2016 and was unable to breed because it was confined to a small cage until it was rescued from a puppy farm in Wales in 2013.  Lisa Garner, an activist, gave Lucy shelter in her home and launched a social media campaign that led to the British Government considering this legislation.

Lucy is not an isolated case. It has been observed that pet shops supposedly indulge in exploitation and abuse of animals, keeping them confined in small cages for extended periods.

The Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said that anyone who wishes to get a cat or a dog will have to approach breeders or re-homing centres. DEFRA said that this law would end the misrable conditions that pets have to endure in puppy farms and it would also resolve some welfare issues.

While pet shops are the front end, the actual culprits are puppy farms that engage in high volume breeding and then flood the pet shops with animals. The puppy farms follow unethical practices and so do pet shops, treating animals as commodities. There are about 8.9 million dogs, 11.1 million cats and one million rabbits, many of them from puppy farms.

The legislation is bound to receive a warm welcome from pet lovers who have been appalled by the horrific treatment puppies and kittens endure. Claire Horton of Battersea Dogs Home in London welcomed this measure. She said that now, the pets will get a good start.  The said dog home was featured in TV series dealing with pet rescues.

Does this mean puppy farms and their horrendous practices will vanish overnight? It is a matter of speculation. They could go underground. So long as there is a market the suppliers will always be around.  About 49 percent of adults in UK owned or own at least one pet in 2018 said the Britain’s People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals charitable organization. Another reason for this nefarious trade in pets is that pets are usually given as gifts to adults and children alike. DEFRA advises people to avoid this practice of giving pets as a surprise gift.

A law was already enacted that banned licensed pet shops from dealing in pets under eight weeks of age. This is but one of the various initiatives of the Government for welfare of animals. The proposed legislation will make it mandatory for non-commercial rescue and re-homing organizations to be licensed.

The British do love pets and the government’s concern is worthy appreciation especially when one considers the Brexit tangle it is grappling with.

India, on the other hand, has a government and people that are light years behind in this area. It has become fashionable to buy fancy dogs to show off. It is these same people who, once the novelty wears off and the fact drills in that they have a long term commitment and expense on their hands, quietly take the dog, drive some distance, and abandon the hapless animal.

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