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Scottish public gives overwhelming backing to positive pet list system

Released to press on 02 June 2015

87 per cent of adults support the introduction of a positive list for private pet owners.

New figures released today (Thursday) by OneKind show overwhelming support from the Scottish public in favour of a positive list system for pet keeping. The poll carried out by YouGov found that 87 per cent of Scottish adults surveyed strongly supported or tended to support the introduction of a positive list system for private pet owners while just 6 per cent strongly opposed or tended to oppose positive lists.

The same poll found that only 6 per cent of adults believed private owners in Scotland should be allowed to keep any species of pet they like, including exotic animals. Over eight in ten adults (83 per cent) thought there should be strict limits on the species of pet that private owners are allowed to keep.

Policy Director for OneKind, Libby Anderson said: “The new figures show that the Scottish public is clearly well informed about the hazards of allowing just any animal to be brought into a domestic setting and kept as a pet.

“The quest for ever more unusual and exotic species has led to a huge rise in non-domesticated animals being bred and traded in an over-populated and under-regulated pet market which has brought with it a multitude of problems both for the animals and the consumer. These figures are extremely encouraging and we will be urging the Scottish Government to take this on board in its review of Scotland’s pet trade.”
The Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead MSP announced a full assessment of the trade and importation of exotic animals as pets earlier this year following a meeting with OneKind last November. The pet trade involves more than 1,000 species of mammals, birds, invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians, and hundreds of fish species. The legislation which covers pet trading pre-dates the internet which is where the vast majority of these sales take place.

Internet sales of exotic, non-domesticated animals include a wide range of species which are wholly unsuitable to being kept as pets including monkeys, meerkats, raccoons and raccoon dogs, iguanas, chameleons, boas and pythons.  Cases of abandonment of exotic species in Scotland are on the increase too, with recent cases involving guinea pigs, rats and rabbits, snakes, degus, an African Grey parrot and three canaries.

OneKind is urging politicians in Scotland to work together to adopt a positive list to ensure the types of animals kept as pets are confined to those whose physical and behavioural needs can be met in private ownership. Belgium and the Netherlands already have legislation of this type and a number of animal welfare organisations across Europe are promoting the positive list approach.

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For further information or photographs please contact Sarah Moyes on 0131 661 9734sarah.moyes@onekind.org

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