Animal welfare standards in pet shops and farms improve, but more can be done: Acres

Basic animal welfare requirements state that flooring provided must be firm and comfortable for the animals. A good example is shown on the left, while a bad example is on the right.
Basic animal welfare requirements state that flooring provided must be firm and comfortable for the animals. A good example is shown on the left, while a bad example is on the right.PHOTO: ACRES

SINGAPORE - Animal welfare conditions at pet shops and pet farms have shown "decided improvement", according to the latest investigation by animal welfare group Acres.

The undercover probe, which took place between October and early November, was a follow-up to an earlier one conducted from March to May this year.

During that earlier probe, the majority of the 41 pet shops and farms visited were found to have breached one or more basic animal welfare conditions.

At that time, 11 out of 29 pet shops and 10 out of 12 farms failed to provide basic animal welfare, such as adequate enclosure space and clean drinking water at all times.

Six months later, in the follow-up investigation of the same 41 pet shops and farms, only five pet shops and five pet farms failed to meet the stipulated conditions.

Among the five pet shops was one that failed both times. The other four had passed in the first probe but had failed to do so now.

The five pet farms that failed in the follow-up checks were repeat offenders.

These details were shared by Acres (Animal Concerns Research and Education Society) on Monday (Nov 9).

Acres added that the pet shop that failed both times has an A-grade rating under the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority's (AVA) grading scheme for pet shop licences. It awards grading based on compliance with licence conditions and adoption of best practices. Pet farms are not graded by the AVA, as they are not licensed as pet shops.

Ms Noelle Seet, head of Acres' Animal Crime Investigation Unit, thanked the AVA for taking enforcement action following Acres' May investigations, and urged the public to continue to act as watchdogs.

"Just simple consumer decisions can go a long way towards improving the whole pet industry's standards. And this is what we want to see in the future," she said.

"It's no longer just Acres, no longer just AVA, we can only do so much. The public are the ones that can make a difference," said Ms Seet, 35.

The results of the latest investigations have been handed over to the AVA for its follow-up action.

In response to queries, the AVA said that it will follow up on Acres' findings, and that enforcement actions ranging from warning letters to fines to suspension or revocation of licences would be taken against pet shops and farms that do not comply with licensing conditions.