HomeNEWSHuman nature: The ethics of selling live animals instore

Human nature: The ethics of selling live animals instore

As part of our deep-dive into the pet category, we looked at the rules around selling live animals in-store. Some retailers are putting more stringent rules in place – what should you do?

The Ministry for Primary Industries says pet shops must meet the requirements of the Code of Welfare for Temporary Housing of Companion Animals. 

The new code was developed by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and came into effect from October 1, 2018.

It sets out minimum standards of care and applies to companion cats and dogs, along with guinea pigs, rabbits, mice, rats, fish, and turtles in temporary housing facilities such as boarding facilities and kennels, pet shops, animal welfare centres and pounds, day-care centres, grooming establishments and quarantine facilities.

The code aims to encourage those responsible to adopt the highest standards of husbandry, care and handling while giving assurance to pet owners that the health and behavioural needs of their animals are met.

Animates now works with the SPCA to rehome unwanted cats and dogs and Petstock has also made the decision not to sell cats or dogs in its stores, instead advocating for animal adoption through its charity foundation Petstock Assist.

Trademe has taken steps to curb irresponsible breeders including stipulating that puppies and kittens need to be at least 8 weeks old before being sold in order to be properly developed, and reminding buyers of the responsibility of owning a pet.

SPCA Chief Scientific Officer Dr Arnja Dale says the SPCA supports pet shops being a rehoming point for shelter animals, as long as their physical, health and behavioural needs can be met and the animals are desexed, vaccinated and microchipped. 

Prospective owners must consider, and understand, the responsibilities of animal ownership. 

“The SPCA is opposed to the breeding of puppies, kittens and other animals in both private and commercial undertakings without regard to the availability of good homes for them and we urge prospective owners not to purchase animals from these breeders,” Dale says.

“All prospective pet owners should ensure that they see where the animal was born, examine the condition and behaviour of the parents and siblings, and see how the animals have been kept.

“By adopting a pet from SPCA or other reputable animal rescue organisations, people can help an individual animal, alleviate the problems caused by oversupply, and assist in reducing the problem of unwanted pets.”

This story originally appeared in NZ Retail issue 762 June/July 2019.


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