Animal welfare in pet shops and farms improves, but room to do more

Images from ACRES' October-November investigation of pet shops and farms, showing those that failed to meet the standards (top), and those that did (bottom),

The standards of animal welfare in pet shops have improved in recent months, but there is still room for more to be done, the Animals Concern and Research Education Society (ACRES) said on Monday (9 November).

In May, an ACRES investigation found 11 out of 29 pet shops and 10 out 12 farms failed to provide basic welfare for animals like adequate space and comfortable flooring, as well as clean water.

Results of a follow-up undercover investigation from October to November found seven of the 11 pet shops that had failed earlier now provided basic animal welfare, as did three of the 10 pet farms.

However, one shop and five pet farms still did not meet the requirements, though three of the farms did show “marginal improvements”.

In images provided by ACRES, larger breed dogs like a border collie and a golden retriever could be seen being kept in small enclosures.

Under the requirements under the Pet Shop Licence Conditions Display and Sale of Dogs and Cats, the length of enclosures need to be at least two times the length of the animal from its nose to the base of its tail, while the width and depth need to be at least one and a half times.

Animals also need to be provided with comfortable flooring, and no pregnant or nursing animals are supposed to be displayed.

Two farms which failed the May investigation appeared to have closed down, ACRES said, while three of the pet shops had stopped selling dogs and cats.

In a statement, ACRES thanked the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore for following-up on its May investigation, as well as mindful members of the public who raised awareness about substandard animal welfare.

“ACRES is glad to find that there is significant improvement in the display conditions of the pets that are sold since our last investigation. This is in no small part due to the media and general public’s constant vigilance,” said Tan En, ACRES’ Director of Advocacy.

“However, there is still room for improvement as a few businesses continue to fail the animals and trust of their potential owners. With the public's support, we will continue to engage with pet shops and farms to increase the welfare of the animals,” Tan said.

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