Monday, 4 January 2016

Plans to ban pet keeping move one step nearer?






It is interesting that the Blue Cross animal charity has decided to get into bed with the Born Free Foundation in compiling this research.  The alliance of what were traditional animal welfare groups siding with the animal-rights movement should be of concern to all professional animal keepers.

Many of those who regularly read my personal blog are aware of my concerns at the encroaching mission creep that can be witnessed within the animal-rights movement as regarding the keeping of animals is both in zoos and aquariums and also as pets.  The continuing campaign was recently highlighted again in the ongoing attack on the keeping of various species of animals as pets.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper was among a number of members of the media to cover a story on a report undertaken by the animal welfare group Blue Cross and the animal-rights group The Born Free Foundation called One Click Away.   

The report highlights the ease at which members of the public can acquire various exotic pets through using the Internet.  Although, the underlying message of this report perhaps is somewhat broader than its initial concerns actually reveal.

The Daily Telegraph article confusingly groups together so many different species of animal it is a bit of mishmash.  Certainly, most of us would agree with the principle of ensuring that the sale of live animals is appropriately regulated and those wishing to keep these animals have more than a passing knowledge of how to do this.

I think we are all aware that the popular media and film can generate interest in various different species.  We saw this many years ago with the purchase of large numbers of red-eared terrapins due to the popularity of the Teenage Ninja Turtle television cartoon.  This resulted in many animals being poorly cared for or abandon into local ponds and lakes. I should be noted that the EU have now banned the import of red-eared terrapins from the wild. Nonetheless, there is still a concern at some of the aspects and agenda promoted by this report.  

Whilst many of us would consider that keeping a meerkat as a pet may not be very wise, the grouping this species with animals such as a marine clown fish is not comparable.  One could also challenge the interesting use of statistics with a figure of 191% - as regards inquiries about meerkats to the RSPCA - as this figure is meaningless unless you have the original data.   

Moreover, the underlying animal-rights message is clearly defined in this article by relating to the fictional fish Nemo “not wanting to be captured and put in a tank”.  One feels like reminding the author that this was a cartoon and not real life and that clown fish cannot conceptualise the concept of captivity or indeed talk.  And, more importantly, are not difficult to maintain in captive care if appropriately housed and cared for.

Of course, it is interesting that the Blue Cross animal charity has decided to get into bed with the Born Free Foundation in compiling this research.  The alliance of what were traditional animal welfare groups siding with the animal-rights movement should be of concern to all professional animal keepers.

In an introduction to the report the actor Virginia McKenna (who co-founded the anti-zoo group Zoo Check a.k.a. Born Free Foundation) states the following:


“When you think of a “pet”, what species instantly comes into your mind?  I would suggest a dog, cat, rabbit, perhaps a goldfish. Some will, of  course, include birds, but for me the idea of any flying, winged creature in a cage is an anathema. (Why, indeed, does a bird have wings?)”


I think there is little ambiguity in the fact that the true intent of McKenna and her fellow travellers in the animal-rights lobby is to see pet keeping reduced to dogs and cats and perhaps goldfish.  To this end, we have already seen the proposal in Scotland promoted by the animal-rights group One Kind to produce a “white list” of animals that can be kept as pets with all other species excluded. 

Although, it is interesting that McKenna mentions rabbits because she seems somewhat oblivious to the fact that many have expressed theirconcern that this species can be kept in appropriately by the average person.  Moreover, considering the much larger number of these animals maintained and their easy of acquisition as pets, perhaps this could have been of greater concern regarding this species than the keeping of meerkats.


Current DEFRA Animal welfare legislation: protecting pets can be found HERE.