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Mobile zoos to face new regulations
The RSPCA said it is particularly worried about the use of animals such as meerkats, raccoons and raccoon dogs at children’s parties.
Defra says such zoos will require a licence 

Mobile zoos that provide exotic animals for parties or educational purposes, will require a licence under new legislation to come into force next year.

Defra has confirmed it will update England’s existing legislation on registering performing animals, to clarify that it covers all animals that are exhibited to the public. This includes mobile zoos, which are not covered by the Zoo Licensing Act.

From next year, anyone in the business of providing an animal for exhibit will need a licence from their local authority, and must adhere to statutory minimum welfare standards, which Defra is developing alongside the sector and animal welfare charities.

Animal performances such as dancing dog entertainment acts are also included in the legislation. Wild animals in circuses and static zoos, on the other hand, are covered by a different law.

The changes will be made under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, as part of wider reforms to the pet licensing controls. They will replace the existing registration process under the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925, which requires ‘performing’ animals to be registered with the local authority.

Speaking to the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme, the RSPCA said it is concerned that animals are being inappropriately kept and handled. It is particularly worried about the use of animals such as meerkats, raccoons and raccoon dogs at children’s parties.

Ros Clubb told the programme: “They have specific needs, for example being kept in a group. They’re wild animals, they’re not used to being handled.”

She also has concerns about “animals being stacked up in inappropriate boxes and enclosures, and taken to places for display and for handing round again and again potentially in the same day.”

Some exotic animals may also pose a risk to children through bites and scratches, or even zoonotic diseases such as salmonella.

The charity urged parents to think carefully before booking a mobile zoo for their child’s party. 

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Campaign highlights ‘devastating impact’ of smoking around pets

News Story 1
 Leading vet charity PDSA has launched a campaign highlighting the ‘devastating impact’ that smoking can have on pets. The launch coincides with National No Smoking Day (14 March 2018) and aims to raise awareness of the risks of passive smoking and how to keep pets safe.

“Recent studies highlight that this is a really serious issue, and we want pet owners to know that they can make a real difference by simply choosing to smoke outdoors away from their pets,” said PDSA vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan. “We want pet owners to realise that, if they smoke, their pets smoke too.”  

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News Shorts
AWF named charity of the year

The Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) has been chosen as charity of the year by the Veterinary Marketing Association (VMA). AWF is a vet-led charity, supported by the BVA, which aims to improve animal welfare though research funding, supporting veterinary education, providing pet care advice and encouraging debate on welfare issues.

VMA has pledged a range of support, including raising awareness and funds at their awards ceremony, which takes place on Friday 16 March, as well as offering marketing support through VMA marketing workshops.