Thursday, 14 January 2016
Non-traditional Companion Animals - the Scottish government's review; and a reptile welfare survey
Non-Traditional Companion Animals – the Scottish government review and reptile welfare survey
The keeping of Exotic pets or ‘not traditional’ companion animals is increasingly under scrutiny as the Scottish government moves forward with its review of their welfare. With surveys such as the PDSA’s Animal Wellbeing report highlighting low levels of owner awareness of the five welfare needs as they apply to traditional companion animals (https://www.pdsa.org.uk/get-involved/our-current-campaigns/pdsa-animal-wellbeing-report), are these problems magnified when it comes to exotic species?
This was the subject of discussion at the recent BVA congress with presentations from Sheila Voas the Chief Veterinary Officer for Scotland, and Michael Stanford of the British Veterinary Zoological Society http://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com/content/177/24/616.full?sid=77f6cf98-453d-4445-a53a-f994a16cc67f
This congress builds on discussions already underway within the BVA and with Scottish government, with which the JMICAWE have participated. Heather Bacon of the JMICAWE, sits on both the BVA’s Ethics and Welfare committee and its exotic pet subcommittee, and has been involved in the discussions leading to the developments of BVA’s statements on this issue http://www.bva.co.uk/News-campaigns-and-policy/Policy/Companion-animals/Exotic-pets/
Heather said ‘It is very likely that the welfare of all companion animals, both traditional and non-traditional, could be improved through better owner education and enforcement of existing legislation relating to animal welfare. Surveys such as the PDSA’s PAW report highlight significant deficiencies in the appropriate care we provide for many companion species and at present there is a dearth of information relating to the welfare of non-traditional species. Revision of legislation relating to pet vending is overdue, and the suitability of species to be kept as pets may need to be reassessed.’
Vets dealing with reptile species may be interested in completing this recently developed survey to elicit further information on reptile husbandry and welfare in the UK