BRIGHTON, September 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Pet shop guidance issued by the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health (CIEH) has been deemed 'unfit for purpose' and represents a 'wasted opportunity' to improve animal health and welfare in Britain's 4,500 pet stores.
The 'Model Conditions for Pet Vending Licensing' ('MCPVL') published by the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health (CIEH) are intended to offer local authorities and pet shops updated guidance on pet shop husbandry and sales practices and have been long-awaited. However, a comprehensive independent scientific review published this week in the journal of Animal Welfare, Science, Ethics and Law has concluded that the new pet shop guidance is 'unfit for purpose'.
Some contributors to the MCPVL 'Model Conditions' guidance (such as the Dogs Trust, Cats Protection and British Veterinary Association) are highly regarded for their diligent and positive efforts to make animal welfare a priority. But the CIEH's document is let down by some contributors from the trade sector who lack relevant qualifications and have overriding interests in the business of peddling pets. Therefore, the scientific review points largely at pet trade vested interests for the misleading, inaccurate, outdated and retrograde information included in the guidance.
The publication of the Model Conditions arrived two years late after a scientific team found that the content included advice that was 'misleading' and 'dangerous' to both animals and people. Steadily the project haemorrhaged contributors, with specialists from the fields of biology and veterinary medicine being among no less than 10 contributors to demand their names be removed from the project because they could not condone the dissemination of misleading and erroneous information.
The new review also raises concerns that the current 'Model Conditions' for pet shops could result in animal harm and that, in some cases, following the guidance could lead users to contravene the law. Not surprisingly, APA does not recommend that councils adopt the guidance.
The publishers did, however, heed some of the warnings issued by the independent team and deleted much of the original information - notably from the sections on birds, reptiles, amphibians and public health - sections that still remain noted as especially poor by independent experts. And indeed the new review concludes that: "…improving material by expunging much of its substance must be considered a guarded compliment."
Says Kat Stuart of the Animal Protection Agency:
"We do commend the CIEH on their efforts to issue much needed information to local authorities on pet shop management. However, the MCPVL guidance falls well short of the mark, and has missed an opportunity to produce a quality document. Fortunately, the 'MCPVLs' are set to be superseded by independent scientific evidence-based guidance."
Says, Mike Jessop, vet and co-author of the scientific review:
"The CIEH document was an ideal opportunity to unify the variable local standards to one national benchmark. It was supposed to draw on the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and update the previous guidelines of 1999. It was the lack of wide consultation and the failure to draw on existing evidence and advice from experts in their field that has caused this document to miss its mark. It is a great sadness that the health and welfare of the unusual pets has been so badly failed.
"The better parts of the document were the sections on dogs and cats that are now rarely traded in pet shops. The species that needed this document most, have been the least well served."
The full review can be accessed here:
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SOURCE Animal Protection Agency