Responsible pet selling lead by Brighton & Hove City Council

The Animal Protection Agency (APA) has praised Brighton & Hove City Council for adopting measures to reduce impulse purchasing of pets. APA has encouraged councils to adopt an initiative to facilitate informed decision making when animals are purchased from pet shops, and Brighton & Hove Council is the first in Britain to take up the scheme.

Many exotic pets continue to be mis-marketed as ‘easy to keep’ and this ultimately leads to widespread animal suffering. The APA is promoting a user-friendly, scientific species assessment system, which categorises animals as ‘easy’, ‘moderate’, ‘difficult’ or ‘extreme’ according to how challenging they are to keep. The four categories form the acronym ‘EMODE’, which gives the system its name. By answering a few questions contained in the EMODE leaflet, shoppers can obtain a reliable gauge as to how much commitment will be required in taking on any new pet. From the start of the new licensing year on January 1st 2015, the Council will ask local pet shops to hand an EMODE leaflet to anyone thinking of buying a pet.

The EMODE scheme was comprehensively voted in at a Licensing Committee meeting on 20th November 2014 with cross-party support, and Green Party members took the lead in working closely with officers throughout. The APA has also praised the Environmental Health and Licensing Team for their commitment to promoting more responsible pet selling.

Says Elaine Toland, Director of the Animal Protection Agency:
“As a Brighton-based organization that helped to develop EMODE we are particularly proud that the initiative has been adopted on our doorstep and we are looking forward to pet shops taking this on. In my view, pet shops that hand out the EMODE leaflet signal their commitment to responsible pet selling and should inspire greater confidence in prospective purchasers. We are delighted that EMODE is rapidly gaining support and has also received the ‘thumbs up’ from UK central government.”

Says Stephanie Powell, Green Councillor and Licensing Committee Chair:
“Impulse buying of pets, especially exotic animals, is the root cause of a whole raft of animal welfare and environmental problems. It was therefore very important for the Greens to ensure Brighton & Hove City Council genuinely tackle this issue by adopting the EMODE initiative. This is the first Council in Britain to do so and I hope many more follow our lead.”

At the Licensing Committee Hearing, Jeane Lepper, Opposition Spokesperson for Labour, expressed her view that wild animals should not be traded as pets. She said that as long as there was a demand for exotic animals the Council would need to fully use its powers to regulate the trade as best it could. She hoped that this was an issue that would keep coming back to Committee.

The APA was also pleased that the Committee voted against adopting the recently published ‘Model Conditions for Pet Vending Licensing’, which has been severely criticized for being unscientific and too closely linked to vested pet trade organisations.

Here’s a link to the EMODE leaflet here.