Petworld at Focus Do It All

Who are Focus Do It All?
Focus Do It All are the UK's third largest DIY chain. They are looking to increase their share of the market by turning DIY shopping into a 'leisure experience' for all the family. Focus Do It All purchased Petworld in 1996 to 'set itself apart from other DIY retailers'. It has certainly done that - but for all of the wrong reasons.
Focus Do It All have a total of 209 stores throughout the UK. There are now 60 Petworlds situated within these stores. By 2001, Focus Do It All plan to open in-store Petworlds in two thirds of their existing stores.

Who are Petworld?

Petworld is a chain of large American-style pet ‘warehouses’ that sell pet food and accessories – as well as the animals themselves. Small mammals, fish and birds are sold,as well as other exotic animals such as lizards, snakes and spiders. They state, in their defence, that they ‘do not sell cats or dogs’. The reality is that very few pet shops do today.

In a recent undercover investigation by Animal Aid, it was found that both the care of these animals in-store, and the advice given for their husbandry, was totally unsatisfactory.

Stick to paint not pets!

Up and down the country, animal shelters are struggling to cope with an increasing number of unwanted and abandoned companion animals. The move by Focus Do It All into the pet trade will only serve to exacerbate this and is both irresponsible and counter to the dignity and welfare needs of animals. DIY stores – with their emphasis on glossy consumerism and large volume sales – are bound to encourage impulse buys, which in turn lead to serious welfare problems for the animals concerned.

Transcripts of conversations between our investigator and Petworld staff were analysed by consultant biologist Clifford Warwick. He advised that:

‘Petworld’s animal maintenance practices, as well as their advice, are deficient not only in terms of animals in their own care, but also in terms of the advice they seem willing to impart to customers’.

‘Furthermore, with the above in mind, it is also clear that, in the context of local authority licensing laws, contraventions may be present. For example, the Pet Animals Act (1951, amended 1983) states clearly: a) animals will at all times be in accommodation suitable as respects size, temperature, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness. Relatively small enclosures (as present at Petworld) are without a truly comprehensive thermal gradient, are insufficient to provide for spatial and other needs, and are in my firm opinion contrary to both the spirit and the letter of the Act.’

Profits in exotics

A large number of exotic animals, including reptiles, are on sale in Focus Do It All stores. The requirements of these animals are many and varied and, consequently, they make highly unsuitable pets. Reptiles retain their natural instincts, whether or not they are captive-bred. Many of the reptiles sold by Focus Do It All, the company has acknowledged to Animal Aid, are taken from the wild. All of the anoles (small lizards) are wild-caught.

RSPCA and Focus Do It All

In a statement sent to Animal Aid, Focus Do It All implied that they had the full support of the RSPCA. Animal Aid checked this out and were told by the RSPCA that they would be instructing Focus Do It All to ‘desist from suggesting the RSPCA endorses their operation!’. In fact, the RSPCA state that they have routinely opposed planning applications where they know of them.

Focus (you can’t) Do It All

The campaign has two aims:

  • To force Focus Do It All to rethink its sales strategy and cease selling animals in its stores.
  • To draw public attention to the pet industry in general and the plight of animals in shelters.

Action

  • Take part in Animal Aid days of action, or go along to your local Focus Do It All store and hand out Focus (you can’t) Do It All flyers.
  • Collect signatures on the Focus (you can’t) Do It All petition.
  • Write a letter to your local newspaper.
  • Join the national boycott of Do It All and Focus Do It All stores – whether or not your local branch sells animals.
  • Write or speak in person to the manager of your local store and say that, until the company stops selling animals, you are taking your custom elsewhere.
  • Write also to Bill Archer, Chairman, Gawsworth House, Westmere Drive, Crewe, Cheshire CW1 6JD.
  • Email us¬†for a campaign pack to find out what else you can do.