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Report No. 261

1.2.5 People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals ("PETA") India submitted that India had a "multi-crore but essentially unregulated pet trade," growing at a rate of about 20% per year, with the Indian pet-care market alone estimated to reach about Rs. 800 crore in 2015. PETA pointed out that there were thousands of breeders and pet shops in the India market, but no specific law protected the animals they used.

Without any regulations, pet shops suffered from various problems, such as "poor housing [for animals], terrible [animal] hygiene, cruel breeding practices, a lack of veterinary care, cruel transport, high rates of morbidity, illness, disease, untrained workers, [and] rough handling". Further, the poor conditions in pet shops and a lack of basic veterinary care "also place pet shop employees and general public at risk of contracting zoonotic diseases such as salmonellosis and psittacosis". Besides the terrible conditions, pet shops also trade in animals and birds that are protected under law, e.g., under WPA and CITES.

1.2.6 In his representation, Shri Sharath Babu R, Honorary Wildlife Warden Bangalore, and the Environment Advisor, Bruhath Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, Forest Cell, pointed out that because pet shops and breeders are not regulated, there are a host of problems. Birds, animals and fish are sold in an unscientific and cruel manner; there are no records of sale/purchase or inventory of species; endangered species are freely sold; the pet shop industry is not taxed, and so on.

1.2.7 Blue Cross of Hyderabad, in its representation to the Commission, pointed out that many animals sold in pet trade are illegally captured or bred; animals in pet shops (there are over 3 lakh pet shops in India) are confined to unnatural and unsuitable conditions and develop severe irreversible psychological problems; and protected wildlife are sold in open markets without any record-keeping or inventories.

1.2.8 Blue Cross of India Madras pointed out that the rules under question were made after extensive consultations with many in the trade and industry and members of the kennel clubs as well as veterinarians and other professionals.

1.2.9 In its representation, Friendicoes-SECA said that no pet shop in Delhi or across the country gives a receipt for the sale of animals, and that varied prices are quoted for the same breed depending upon opportunity. Further, it said that since pet shops do not pay any kind of service or value added tax, huge losses were being caused to the government, especially since the industry turnover ran into several thousand crores per year (Rs. 80,000 crore, as cited by several representations). It said that there was an urgent need to regulate this trade, and set specific rules on what could be sold and how it could be sold.

1.2.10 PFA Balotra (Rajasthan) provided some insights into pet trading practices in India. Its representation said that there are approximately 450 pet shops in Delhi alone, and every tier-II city in the country has at least 200 shops where live animals of various species can be bought as pets. Besides these, there are websites where trading of pets happens on a large scale. Some shops also offer "home delivery" or "book in advance" options.

According to its representation, there is no licensing authority for these shops: for example, the (Delhi) Municipal authority licenses only meat shops; the Animal Husbandry Department licenses only cattle; the Forest Department does not regard pet shops as being within its mandate. As a result, pet shops end up obtaining licenses to operate as medical stores, general merchandise stores, pet supplies stores, etc., but in practice, continue to store and sell live animals.

Its representation also pointed out that while dog breeders are specifically required to obtain a registration certificate from AWBI, none of them in fact obtain such certificates, and their practices continue unregulated.

1.2.11 PFA Fatehabad unit, besides several others, drew attention to the practice of disposal of waste from pet shops. Waste from pet shops is allowed to mix with household waste that pollutes the neighbourhood as well as the ground water. Dead animals are dumped with household waste or buried in the neighbourhood, which leads to more contamination, and no post mortem is conducted to rule out infectious diseases that could spread to humans. They suggest that the spread of avian/bird flu may have a close relation with the manner in which animals are indiscriminately bred and sold in the country.

Need to Regulate Pet Shops and Dog and Aquarium Fish Breeding Back

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