Pet Gazette March 2019 - Page 5

TRADE TALK | PET GAZETTE | 5 SPEAKER’S CORNER Danny Brown has owned and managed Three Oaks Animal Kabin, at The Courtyard Craft Centre, Lytchett Minster, Dorset for 13 years. He sells birds, poultry, rabbits, guinea pigs and small animals as well as food, bedding, toys, houses. He also takes animals in for boarding. He has been breeding animal and birds for 40 years since he was six years old VETERINARY NURSE COUNCIL AGREES TO EU VET REGISTRATION POST- BREXIT CHANGES The proposals suggested a closer alignment of the process for EEA applicants to that which exists for applicants from outside the EEA The new Animal Welfare Act came into force in October and was formed by the government, DEFRA and stakeholders within the sector comprised of suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, large retailers, service providers and animal rights protection organisations. No discussions were had with small independent pet shop owners, so how can something that affects all pet shops not be discussed with independents? Had it been discussed with all parties it affected, issues could have been raised. There are serious issues about the implementation of the act and its timescale. I was given eight weeks to comply, but the councils have been given three years to train their officers, so we are being inspected by untrained or partially trained officers. Having spoken to pet shops in my area and other council areas, there seems to be different interpretations on the meaning of the act. Due to these interpretations I’ve been told I don’t need a breeding licence, but the guidance notes say I do so - this leads to confusion. I currently breed female rabbits, each are housed in hutches outside and according to the new legislation each should have permanent access to an additional run. The temperature should be no lower than 12°c and no higher than 26°c, they must have access to growing grass, so under the new regulations my hutches should have air conditioning to maintain the temperature. The run cannot be made of mesh or grid flooring, meaning the rabbits can dig out or foxes and badgers can dig in, whilst heating and cooling the world outside. Then customers will home them in a hutch outside with no heating or air conditioning meaning the rabbits will not be acclimated to weather. Another contradiction is rabbits must not be placed on their backs but if they are to be sexed accurately, they need be for a very short period of time. Limited access to animals and birds could lead to a decline of the pet industry and an increase in mental health issues within the population as having pets has been proven to lower stress, anxiety and depression. It also teaches children valuable life lessons such as the care and compassion animals need to survive, exposure to grief and ways to deal with it. Also over the years I’ve had countless work experience students from local schools and colleges in my area, some of them have had physical, mental and learning disabilities, and I think all flourished in the time they have spent here on their placements. But now I’m having to turn the schools and colleges down when they contact me asking for placements. Like all small independent businesses I struggle to compete with the big chains, and rely on the reputation of my knowledge and loyal customers, as I do not have a new licence and I am being stopped from selling or showing my birds, guinea pigs, rabbits and poultry. This is until I complete the alterations to my shop and outside area. Due to the cost of around £30,000, this may take me until summer, as I am unable to afford this all at once. Independent pet shops are the backbone of the industry, if independents close due to new regulations and cost, this leaves Facebook, Gumtree, backyard breeders and dealers which is not always regulated or monitored. These sellers can make more money selling birds and animals in a week than a shop can do in a month. This whole situation has left me considering closing my business and working outside the industry. The Veterinary Nurses (VN) Council, part of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has agreed changes to how it will register veterinary nurses who qualified in the European Economic Area (EEA) should the UK depart the EU without a deal on March 29. Changes to the registration process for veterinary nurses educated in EEA were discussed at the most recent meeting of VN Council on Wednesday 6 February 2019 with the proposals suggesting a closer alignment of the process for EEA applicants to that which exists for applicants from outside the EEA. EEA applicants will continue to be able to apply for permission to work in a veterinary practice while preparing for the examination. Where there is significant differences in content and scope then these applications will be rejected. The option to make up any deficient areas while working in practice will no longer be available in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Holders of qualifications accredited by the Accreditation Committee for Veterinary Nurse Education (ACOVENE) will continue to have direct access to the Register as its accreditation criteria is based on UK standards. The decision was made by VN Council on the day that the House of Lords passed a statutory instrument that would, similarly, allow the RCVS to continue to register EEA veterinary surgeons with qualifications accredited by the European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education (EAEVE) after the UK leaves the EU. March 2019