Animal Aid

Victory for Animals! Wyevale takes ethical step to stop the sale of animals

Posted 22 September 2006

Following a 16-month campaign by Britain's largest animal rights group Animal Aid, Wyevale Garden Centres has announced a new policy decision to stop selling live animals in its stores. Animal Aid is absolutely delighted by this announcement, which marks the second major success in its campaign to afford better protection for domestic animals. A three-year campaign against DIY chain Focus also culminated in the company ceasing to sell live animals in 2005.

This latest victory marks an important step forward for the cause of animal welfare. Wyevale, as well as being the country's leading chain of garden centres, is the second biggest retailer of pets in the country, with animals being sold in approximately half of its 115 stores. Garden centres are totally unsuitable environments in which to sell animals. They encourage impulse buying by customers who will have gone to purchase plants, not pets. Animals bought on a whim often find themselves neglected and/or abandoned at already hard-pressed rescue centres once the novelty has worn off. Furthermore, based on its detailed research, Animal Aid has found that staff in such establishments are frequently unable to provide even the most basic advice on husbandry and may be ignorant of the often-complex physical and emotional requirements of the animals being sold. This is especially the case with exotic birds, available in some Wyevale centres.

Says Andrew Tyler, Animal Aid Director:

"We are absolutely delighted with Wyevale's announcement and commend them for it. We suspect that Sir Tom Hunter, a major new investor in Wyevale, played a central role in this change of direction. We recently wrote to Sir Tom setting out our concerns. His commitment to ethical conduct is evident from the work his charitable foundation does for some of the most disadvantaged people around the world. We would urge Wyevale to phase out animal sales as soon as possible and have offered to help re-home some of the animals in suitable, pre-checked homes."

So far, there is no announcement to phase out the sale of ornamental fish, by concessionaries operating within the company's stores. Animal Aid will be pressing Wyevale to stop these sales too. After all, fish are animals and are deserving of the same level of care and consideration.

Notes for Editors:

  • Animal Aid launched its campaign against Focus after undercover investigations revealed telling evidence relating to the company's animal suppliers and its staff's lack of welfare training. Hundreds of demos were staged at stores around the country, as well as a sit-in demonstration at the Focus headquarters, resulting in major national and regional media coverage.
  • For more information contact Kelly Slade on 01732 364546 ext 227 or email Kelly@animalaid.co.uk.
  • Animal Aid has an ISDN line for broadcast quality interviews

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