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Vets call for exotic pet labelling scheme
The proposed labelling scheme would require pet sellers to show how challenging exotic animals are to keep.
Study highlights growing problem of unwanted animals

Vets are calling for a pet labelling scheme to help consumers make informed decisions about the types of animals they buy.

Writing in the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour, researchers highlight the growing problem of unwanted exotic pets and their mis-selling as “easy to keep” or “beginner animals”. They conclude that animal welfare has endured 'decades of suffering' as a result of the exotic pet trade being 'significantly out of reasonable control'.

“Efforts, after pet acquisition, to educate sellers and keepers to improve animal welfare and public health issues have proven unproductive,” the authors write. “We propose that a system is required that facilitates decision-making at the interface between sale and purchase sectors and that uses clear evidence-based labeling.”

The proposed labelling scheme would require pet sellers to show how challenging exotic animals are to keep by categorising them as either ‘easy, ‘moderate’, ‘difficult’ or ‘extreme’. The label would also include important public health notices, as many exotic animals carry diseases that are transmissible to humans.

Welcoming the news, the Animal Protection Agency (APA) said the scheme is much needed to ensure people don’t take on difficult or demanding pets.

"It may seem distasteful to call for labels for living, feeling animals but the problem is that they are already priced-up, packaged, marketed and often mis-labelled as ‘easy to keep' or ‘suitable for beginners’,” said Elaine Toland, director of the APA.

“This innovative scheme, based on sound, scientific information by an international group of experts, is a straightforward way of addressing irresponsible trade practices and protecting animals as well as consumers."

 

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UK a step closer to ivory ban

News Story 1
 A UK ban on ivory sales is one step closer to coming into force, as the government has introduced the Ivory Bill to parliament. The ban covers items of all ages, rather than just ivory carved after 1947. Anyone breaching the ban will face an unlimited fine or up to five years in jail.

Conservationists have welcomed the bill, which comes less than six weeks after the government published the results of a consultation on this issue. Around 55 African elephants are now slaughtered for their ivory every day and the illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth £17 billion a year.  

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News Shorts
Strategic alliance to support development of agri-food sector

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and Queen’s University Belfast have formed a new strategic alliance that will see both institutions form a research and education partnership.

Under the agreement, the organisations will pool their resources and expertise to support the development of the agri-food sector. It will work across three core themes: enabling innovation, facilitating new ways of working and partnerships.