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Biophile Magazine -- » Say “No!” to animals in pet shops

"One of the greatest surprises you'll experience, is when you discover that you can do what you were afraid you couldn't do.
Your obstacles will melt away, if instead of cowering before them, you make up your mind to walk boldly through them." Daily Guru

Say “No!” to animals in pet shops

by Paula Spagnoletti

FILED IN: Animals and Animal Welfare · Issue 18


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Say NO to Animals in Pet Shops is a campaign originally founded in Australia by June Bird (of Adam and the Ants fame) and Dave Casey in 2002. The campaign has since gone from strength to strength gaining the support of many people who oppose the practice of selling animals from pet shops.

Because celebrities are invaluable in reaching and influencing a huge amount of people, June and Dave have enlisted the support of several international celebrities including; Daniel Johns from Silverchair, Uri Geller, Lindsay McDougall from Frenzal Rhomb, Bryan Adams, Judith Durham from the Seekers, and Bianca Dye from Nova 96.9.

Having always found animal-selling Pet shops to be rather sad, lackluster and distasteful I was thrilled at being offered the opportunity to originate and represent Say NO to Animals in Pet Shops — South Africa. The driving force of our campaign is to educate potential pet owners and society in general about where these poor animals in pet shops come from, what eventually becomes of them and how absolutely shameful it is that we keep these gluttonous pet shop owners and backyard breeders in business when every year hundreds of thousands of lovable, desperate, lonely, homeless animals are killed in shelters throughout the country simply because they are no-longer wanted. There just are not enough loving homes for all these animals.

Pet shops do not support or promote responsible pet ownership. Animal-selling pet shops rely on and in-fact encourage the impulsive buying of companion animals; they desperately depend on the sweet faces and charming characters of these young vulnerable animals to make that sale.

The impulsive buying of animals from pet shops is in my opinion the single biggest contributor to our current animal overpopulation problem. People who buy an animal on impulse are not likely to get that animal sterilized as the cost of sterilization was not considered at the time of purchase.

While pretending to be a potential customer one pet shop proprietor actually told me not to worry about sterilization because if the kitten later has babies I can bring all those babies back to him to sell?
I am no economist, but considering this issue logically I have to assume that Pet Traders must be a huge economic drain on a country that can least afford it. I reason that annually the financial implications and costs of ‘dealing’ with these massive numbers of no-longer wanted or unwanted animals must be astronomical.

We have all seen them, noses pressed tight against the cage bars pleading for us to take them home.
We have all heard the frightened, confused yelping of puppies, which suddenly find themselves caged and on display in the middle of busy, noisy shopping centers and flee markets.

What heartless individual wouldn’t be tempted to buy a pet on a whim? And many good people actually believe that they are rescuing an animal from a pet shop when all they are doing is making room for many others to take its place, while the unfortunate mother of these animals is prostituted and bred to death.

Say NO to Animals in Pet Shops aims to raise enough support to have legislation drafted that would render the sale of animals in pet shops and the large-scale, puppy-mill type breeding of companion animals illegal.

We are encouraged by the fact that the Netherlands, Belgium and Croatia are just some of the countries where the selling of animals in pet shops has been completely banned.

Because large portions of the animal-buying public are still unaware of the tragic implications of purchasing from pet shops, and animal-selling pet shops are so numerous and widespread, we believe that protesting outside them would be an inefficient means of achieving our objective.

The pressure, urgency and change we are aiming to realize calls for extensive public attention and this can only be brought about by the clever use of mass media.

People must become conscious to the fact that the pet trade is an incredibly cruel and insatiably greedy multibillion Rand industry that profits from the sale of misery.

Pet traders are basically utterly and completely lawless. They do not have a legally binding code of conduct, ethics or minimum standards.

‘The South African Pet Traders Association’ is a newly formed, self-appointed and self-regulated body or organization. SAPTA is not an independent body. (Although I know better, I always presume and assume that an organization with such an ‘official and fancy’ sounding name is an independent organization).

SAPTA membership is voluntary; this unfortunately renders their out-dated and wholly inadequate code of ethics to also be voluntary. In fact several of the most appalling, and disgusting pet stores I know proudly boast about their membership to this ‘esteemed’ organization.

Ironically I often see the ‘SAPTA Certificate of Membership’ prominently displayed next to a notice stating that the pet shop offers no guarantee on their livestock. A pet shop that is not prepared to offer a reasonable guarantee on their livestock is publicly declaring that they do not accept responsibility for the welfare, treatment or breeding of an animal in their store.

SAPTA is unfortunately not in a position to regulate, control or uphold any code of ethics or minimum standards within the pet trade.

Say NO to Animals in Pet Shops is a kick-butt movement. We will not be bullied into submission and we will not stop until every single animal is out of pet shops.

Please don’t contribute to animal suffering and exploitation by buying your companion from a pet shop. Support the few pet shops that love animals so much they refuse to profit from their misery.
Feel free to email me your postal address and I will post you some of our rather funky Say NO to Animals in Pet Shops bumper stickers, which you can proudly display on your car, your fridge, bare bums, bald heads… wherever.

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