Our Cats Shop

Pet Care Trust slams RSPCA for pet shop contact

THE PET Care Trust, the national charity that promotes the benefits of responsible pet ownership and pet care education and training, has written to the RSPCA asking whether their policy against the sale of pets in pet shops has changed following their recent request to pet shops for help.

The Trust - formerly known as the Pet Trade and Industry Association - has around 1,550 members, the majority of which are small and medium enterprises including pet shops, groomers, kennels, catteries, manufacturers, wholesalers and colleges.

Earlier this month, the Trust became aware that the RSPCA has written out to pet retailers informing them of the new Animal Welfare Act and asking them to display posters and flyers about the new law and welfare needs of pets. The Pet Care Trust met the RSPCA in May last year to discuss possible ways of working together. However, the RSPCA states in its policy booklet that they are opposed to the sale of pets in pet shops and garden centres, with the result that the Trust concluded it could not work with them whilst this policy was in place.

A letter was sent to RSPCA HQ from the Trust asking whether the RSPCA has changed its policy: “This seems an appropriate time to ask whether the RSPCA has changed its position… do you anticipate the policy against the sale of pets in pet shops will be reviewed or likely to change? If not, it seems hypocritical to request the assistance of pet retailers when your organisation fundamentally disagrees with their business.”

The Pet Care Trust is due to meet the RSPCA again in February and says that it hopes this issue can then be addressed.

OUR CATS contacted the RSPCA, who were quick to refute the Pet Care Trust’s claims.
“Our letter’s aim was to enlist support in raising awareness among pet owners and prospective pet owners of the forthcoming change in the law,” said Justine Pannett, RSPCA campaigner. “Pet shops are naturally an important vehicle for reaching this target audience, but it was also sent to vets, Citizens Advice Bureaux, police stations and magistrates courts.

“Last year the Pet Care Trust declined to work with us on a collaborative basis, but we did not feel this precluded us from contacting pet shops directly - not all pet shops are members of the Pet Care Trust and therefore direct contact is our only option for reaching them.

“We have had a really positive response from pet shops,” added Ms Pannett. “Many have contacted us to request extra copies of the poster and flyer and have said how keen they are to raise awareness of the new law among their customers.”

“We are keen to continue discussions with the Pet Care Trust and are pleased that their chief executive and our director general will be meeting next month to discuss how we can move forward.’

The RSPCA’s Letter to Pet Retailers

8th January 2007
Dear Sir or Madam

On 6 April 2007 the Animal Welfare Act comes into force in England (and by the end of March in Wales).

The new law means that owners will have a legal responsibility to meet the welfare needs of their pets. Pets’ welfare needs to include:

• A proper diet (including water)
• Somewhere suitable to live
• Any need to be housed with, or apart from, other animals
• Allowing animals to express normal behaviour
• Protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

Throughout 2007, the RSPCA will be running a campaign to raise awareness of the new law and the welfare needs of pets and I would like to ask for your help by displaying our poster and flyers.

Please find enclosed one copy - as an example - of the poster and flyer. If you would like to receive further copies, please complete and return the enclosed form. Alternatively, please email campaigns@rspca.org.uk and specify how many copies of the poster and flyer you require, along with a delivery address.

If you would like to find out more about the new law, please do not hesitate to contact me on 0870 754 0478.

Yours faithfully

Justine Pannett,
Project Manager - Campaigns