Animal Aid

LOCAL DEMOS AGAINST DIY CHAIN'S PET SALES

Posted 3 February 2000
Iguana

Animal Aid have announced a national boycott of the 209-strong DIY store chain, Focus Do It All, in response to its rapid expansion into the pet trade. Demonstrations will be taking place on 5 February outside the Focus Do It All stores in Tunbridge Wells (at 11am) and Crowborough (at 1 pm). This is part of a national weekend of action that involves protests at dozens of the company's branches across the country, 60 of which already contain in-store Petworlds.

The store chain now stocks small mammals, fish and birds, as well as other exotic species, such as lizards, snakes and spiders. Even iguanas, who can grow to 6 feet in length, are sold. Animal Aid is telling Focus Do It All to STICK TO PAINT NOT PETS and cease the sale of animals in its stores.

Liberal Democrat animal welfare spokesman Norman Baker MP, has given Animal Aid his full support and will be questioning Home Secretary, Jack Straw, to establish how a DIY chain is able to expand into the pet trade, a move that will encourage impulse buys and irresponsible pet ownership.

Star of the Channel 4 programme Pet Rescue, Wendy Turner, has also declared her support for the Animal Aid initiative, saying she is 'appalled' by the store chain's move into pet sales.

In a recent undercover investigation by the national campaign group - supported by consultant biologist and reptile expert, Clifford Warwick - it was found that inadequate and contradictory advice relating to the care of reptiles was being given out by supposedly qualified Petworld members of staff. Reptiles are highly sensitive and extremely difficult to look after, says Warwick, even on a basic level. They do not make suitable pets.

Some of the reptiles sold by Focus Do It All, the company has acknowledged to Animal Aid, are taken from the wild.

In a statement sent to Animal Aid, Focus Do It All implied that they had the full support of the RSPCA. The RSPCA now say they will be instructing the company to 'desist from suggesting the Society endorses their operation!' In fact, the RSPCA state that they have routinely opposed planning applications for pet departments to be introduced, where they know of them.

Says Animal Aid Director Andrew Tyler:

"DIY stores, with their emphasis on glossy consumerism and large volume sales, are bound to encourage impulse buys. Animal shelters all over the country are already struggling to cope with unwanted animals. The move by Focus Do It All into the pet trade will make things worse.'"

STATEMENTS OF SUPPORT FOR THE ANIMAL AID CAMPAIGN:

Wendy Turner, Star Of Channel 4's Pet Rescue:

"I am appalled at Focus Do It All's move into the commercial pet trade. They really should stick to paint not pets. I am particularly vigorous in my opposition to the sale of reptiles. These highly intelligent and complex animals have very special needs. I applaud Animal Aid's campaign."

Norman Baker MP, Liberal Democrat spokesman for animal welfare:

"I am very disappointed that in this day and age Focus Do It All should want to expand into such a trade. Reptiles are under enough threats in the wild and this will only encourage impulse buying and so put many animals at risk."

Hillside Animal Sanctuary:

"Hillside animal sanctuary gets calls virtually every day from members of the public who have been lured into buying animals, and who then find they cannot look after them, or simply don't want the poor creatures. Hillside is backing Animal Aid's campaign all the way, to persuade Focus Do It All to cease selling animals in their stores. Animals are not lifestyle accessories - they are individual living beings, and deserve to be treated as such."

Notes to Editors

  • Address of stores are as follows:- Focus Do It All Crowborough, Sybron Way, off Rotherfield Rd, Jarvis Brook, Crowborough. Focus Do It All Tunbridge Wells, Longfield Rd Industrial Est, Longfield Rd, Royal Tunbridge Wells.
  • Photos available downline or by post/courier.
  • For more information and full background notes on Focus Do It All and the trade in reptiles contact: Yvonne Taylor, Elaine Toland or Andrew Tyler on 01732 364546

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