Digesting Regulations–I’m a Pet Store…or a Dealer, or a Breeder, or Not, or What???!!!

USDA’s APHIS, the same illustrious service that brought us the NAIS which morphed into the ADT, has blessed us all with the distinction of being regulated as a pet store if we aren’t already regulated as licensed breeders. The way the regulations read is confusing at absolute best. The number of breeding females is an aggregate number of all animals covered under the Animal Welfare Act of 1966. That’s virtually every thing that is warm blooded and referred to as a “pet” or used for exhibition. Dogs, cats, farm animals sometimes, rabbits, etc. They say you can have four or less breeding females and not be licensed, but if you sell them online then you are a retail pet store. They also give you the capacity to earn up to $500 gross annually and be exempted from being either a pet store or a breeder.

Now there are exceptions that are astonishing. For one, if the animals are sold as breeding animals, then you are exempt. So every dog could be sold as breeding stock with hybrid vigor and they would be exempt. Or if the animal is a working animal, you’re ok as well. So you could sell poodles as watch dogs and be exempt. But if they are pets, you are not exempt. Basically, if they want to they can deem anyone selling any of the covered animals as under their regulatory authority.

I try really hard not to curse, but after reading the final rule (which you can read here if you have the stamina) I find that I have to quote my husband, I don’t know whether to shit or go blind.

Thankfully there is a lawsuit that has been filed. I hope there is an injunction against the USDA on this insanity. You can read about it below:

Dog and Cat Clubs Tell Uncle Sam to Scat
           (CN) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture illegally and arbitrarily is requiring “tens of thousands of dog and cat breeders” to get licenses and submit to unannounced inspections and the costs of complying with “new structural and sanitation standards,” dozens of dog and cat clubs claim in court.

     Forty dog clubs – and two cat clubs – led by the Associated Dog Clubs of New York State, sued the USDA in District of Columbia Federal Court.
More cats than dogs are kept as pets in the United States, according to the Humane Society: 95.6 million cats and 83.3 million dogs.
Forty-seven percent of U.S. households have at least one dog, and 46 percent have at least one cat, according to the Humane Society.
Why 40 of the 42 plaintiff clubs are dog breeders, and only two represent cats, is a poser. Possibly it’s because dogs and dog owners are clubbier than cats and cat people.
Whatever the reason, the clubs challenge “The Retail Pet Store Rule,” 9 CFR Parts 1-3, which took effect on Nov. 18. The regulation was promulgated under the Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. § 2131 et seq.
The rule originally was aimed at large breeders who sell over the Internet, but was expanded to include all breeders, including “small-scale breeders,” i.e., the members of the plaintiff clubs, “without any support for doing do,” according to the complaint.
According to the dog clubs’ lawsuit: “The Rule radically changes, without justification, 47 years of USDA’s regulatory oversight of retail pet stores. Specifically, the Rule redefines ‘retail pet store’ to potentially require tens of thousands of dog and cat breeders throughout the United States, including members of plaintiffs, to obtain licenses, to subject their residences to unannounced, on-site inspections, to incur substantial costs to comply with new structural and sanitation standards, to risk the health and lives of their dogs and cats from exposure to the deadly Parvovirus, Panleukopenia, and other diseases, and to place their personal safety at risk by opening their residences to strangers.”
The clubs claim that when Congress passed the Animal Welfare Act in 1966, it “specifically exempted retail pet stores” from the Act’s licensing and inspection requirements.
“Although Congress has amended the AWA several times since its passage, Congress has not changed or narrowed the AWA’s exemption of retail pet stores,” the complaint states. “By promulgating a regulation instead of seeking a statutory solution in Congress, the USDA has circumvented congressional intent. Moreover, the Rule’s redefinition of ‘retail pet store’ is inconsistent with the required record that was developed to justify the Rule.”
The USDA estimated that the rule would affect 2,600 to 4,640 breeders, the dog clubs say – an estimate that is way off base.
“In fact, as was noted in the comments, the Rule potentially affects tens of thousands of breeders, including the almost 19,000 members of the 42 plaintiffs, located in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Significantly, the clubs and registries comprised by plaintiffs represent less than 1 percent of the dog and cat clubs and registries in the United States, yet the cumulative number of plaintiff members alone is four times the maximum number of breeders that APHIS [the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service] estimated would be potentially affected.”
The dog clubs want the rule declared invalid and enjoined as arbitrary and capricious, inconsistent with the AWA, exceeding the jurisdiction of the USDA, and a violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.
The clubs are represented by Philip Hecht.
The Humane Society criticized the lawsuit in a statement, and said it plans to “intervene in the lawsuit and join the government in defending the common-sense regulation.”
The Humane Society said that the rule was enacted to crack down on “large-scale puppy mills.” The statement said that the rule “closed the regulatory loophole” that let puppy mills sells abused dogs online without oversight.
The Humane Society statement did not address the dog clubs’ objection that the rule indiscriminately affects back-yard breeders.
Here are the plaintiffs: Associated Dog Clubs of New York State, Inc; Australian Shepherd Club of America; American Dog Breeders Association, Inc.; Virginia Federation of Dog Clubs and Breeders; California Federation of Dog Clubs; Albany Kennel Club, Inc.; Albany Obedience Club, Inc.; Allpurrs Cattery; American Fox Terrier Club; American Pomeranian Club; American Russell Terrier Club; Belgian Sheepdog Club of America; Cat Fanciers Legislative Group; Charlottesville-Albemarle Kennel Club; Chattanooga Kennel Club;; Chihuahua Club of America; Cleveland Collie Club; Colonial Newfoundland Club; Columbia Poodle Club of Oregon and Southwest Washington; Dachshund Club of Greater Buffalo; Dachshund Fanciers of Central Virginia; Eagle Rock Kennel Club, Inc.; Erie Canal Schipperke Club; Goldendoodle Association of North America;; Huron Valley Australian Shepherd Association; International Bengal Cat Society; International Shiloh Shepherd Dog Club; Kennel Club of Palm Springs; Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of America; Minuteman Samoyed Club, Inc.; Mississippi Canine Coalition, Inc.; Northland Newfoundland Club; Potomac Bassett Hound Club; Saratoga (NY) Kennel Club, Inc.; Schenectady Dog Training Club; Shawangunk Kennel Club, Inc.; Shetland Sheepdog Club of Western New York; Society for the Perpetuation of Desert Bred Salukis; Syracuse Obedience Training Club; Tri Valley Shetland Sheepdog Club of Northwest Los Angeles; Weimaraner Club of the Washington DC Area; and the Working Australian Shepherd Club of Upstate New York.

Saving Them Through Killing Them…

This goes right along with the article I posted on ivory a few days back. While it should be obvious to those who have a passing acquaintance with me that I am not animal fighting, the issues exposed in the following article represent the actual normal MO of the animal rights and HSUS groups in this country. To take others property and destroy it without due process is unconscionable, and that is exactly what happened here. All in the name of saving animals, they kill them, and they didn’t go into the food chain either. Waste. Profligate waste. To be clear, it really hacks me off.

AG King’s animal instincts

He’s a defender of horses, but his task force slaughtered chickens

THE COLUMN

It took more than three years and a private citizen’s lawsuit before state Attorney General Gary King released hundreds of emails that he wrote or received.

All of them involved King’s aptly named animal cruelty task force. It killed thousands of chickens on ranches across New Mexico and reveled in publicity that the raids received.

As attorney general, King is supposed to champion requests from the public for government records. But when it came to releasing his own emails, he was as stubborn as any politician.

King’s reluctance was understandable if you knew anything about the brutal pack of raiders who operated as the Attorney General’s Animal Cruelty Task Force.

An Albuquerque woman named Marcy Britton filed a public records request for King’s emails way back in June 2009. She said she was convinced that King’s task force was trampling constitutional rights and running roughshod over ranches owned mostly by Hispanics.

King’s raiders slaughtered roosters, hens and chicks under the claim that they were stopping cockfighting rings that had injected the birds with steroids.

“Truth is, they killed more chickens than cockfighting ever did,” said Ronnie Barron, president of the New Mexico Game Fowl Association.

Now father and son ranchers in San Juan County are suing King and his task force in federal court. The ranchers say King’s organization — using police officers, sheriff’s deputies, a helicopter and plenty of intimidation — needlessly killed 730 of their chickens and smashed a thousand eggs in a raid four years ago.

King, a Democrat who is running for governor, declined to discuss that case because the lawsuit is ongoing.

Court records list the leader of King’s animal cruelty task force as Heather Ferguson, who had no law enforcement training.

In one email to King, Ferguson was effusive about the attention she and King’s raiders were receiving. “Over 300 roosters have been seized, and coverage should be on all 3 stations tonight starting at 5,” she wrote.

In his own court affidavit, King said he was unaware of Ferguson’s role in orchestrating raids, even though she was the public face of his task force.

Ferguson was director of cruelty campaigns for Animal Protection of New Mexico, a political ally of King’s.

Though King is silent about the chicken raids, he is outspoken regarding his newest cause involving animals. He is aligned with Animal Protection of New Mexico in trying to stop horse-slaughter plants from reopening in America. A federal judge’s order authorizing the businesses was appealed by King and other opponents.

King said horse slaughter was cruel and that it could contaminate food supplies because horses often are drugged. But what about the thousands of feral horses that roam the arid West, looking for food and water? These horses have received no drugs.

John Boyd, the lawyer who sued King in the email case, also represents the Yakama tribe, which supports horse slaughter plants as a sensible means of population control.

“Certainly the attorney general has not put any evidence into the record to substantiate claims of horse meat entering the (American) food chain,” Boyd said.

He said the Yakama reservation had seen declines in deer, antelope and elk as the number of wild horses swelled to between 12,000 and 15,000. Boyd says these feral horses live in pain.

“They starve to death. They die of thirst. It’s not the picture of wild horses that people like to imagine, manes flowing in the wind,” he said.

As for the email case, Boyd will ask a state judge for summary judgment against King after a different case before the state Supreme Court is decided. That case is to determine if public officials who withhold emails are subject to fines.

For King, the email lawsuit will keep alive his raiders’ destruction of chickens and eggs, even as he fights lawful businesses from slaughtering horses for food.

GMO Damage in Pigs….How about in You?

World Exclusive: Evidence of GMO Harm in Pig Study

Pig stomachs gmo feed

June 11, 2013 in Sustainable Agriculture, by Admin Share with

A groundbreaking new study [1] shows that pigs were harmed by the consumption of feed containing genetically modified (GM) crops.

Press release from Sustainable Pulse (sustainablepulse.com) and GMWatch (gmwatch.org)

GM-fed females had on average a 25% heavier uterus than non-GM-fed females, a possible indicator of disease that requires further investigation. Also, the level of severe inflammation in stomachs was markedly higher in pigs fed on the GM diet. The research results were striking and statistically significant.

Find a clear summary of the study here

Find the full paper here

Lead researcher Dr Judy Carman, adjunct associate professor at Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia,[2] said: “Our findings are noteworthy for several reasons. First, we found these results in real on-farm conditions, not in a laboratory, but with the added benefit of strict scientific controls that are not normally present on farms.

Find all the background on this study and on Dr. Judy Carman here: www.gmojudycarman.org

“Second, we used pigs. Pigs with these health problems end up in our food supply. We eat them.

“Third, pigs have a similar digestive system to people, so we need to investigate if people are also getting digestive problems from eating GM crops.

“Fourth, we found these adverse effects when we fed the animals a mixture of crops containing three GM genes and the GM proteins that these genes produce. Yet no food regulator anywhere in the world requires a safety assessment for the possible toxic effects of mixtures. Regulators simply assume that they can’t happen.

“Our results provide clear evidence that regulators need to safety assess GM crops containing mixtures of GM genes, regardless of whether those genes occur in the one GM plant or in a mixture of GM plants eaten in the same meal, even if regulators have already assessed GM plants containing single GM genes in the mixture.”

The new study lends scientific credibility to anecdotal evidence from farmers and veterinarians, who have for some years reported reproductive and digestive problems in pigs fed on a diet containing GM soy and corn.[3]

Iowa-based farmer and crop and livestock advisor Howard Vlieger, one of the coordinators of the study, said: “For as long as GM crops have been in the feed supply, we have seen increasing digestive and reproductive problems in animals. Now it is scientifically documented.

“In my experience, farmers have found increased production costs and escalating antibiotic use when feeding GM crops. In some operations, the livestock death loss is high, and there are unexplained problems including spontaneous abortions, deformities of new-born animals, and an overall listlessness and lack of contentment in the animals.

“In some cases, animals eating GM crops are very aggressive. This is not surprising, given the scale of stomach irritation and inflammation now documented. I have seen no financial benefit to farmers who feed GM crops to their animals.”

Gill Rowlands, a farmer based in Pembrokeshire, Wales who is also a member of the campaign group GM-Free Cymru, said: “This is an animal welfare issue. Responsible farmers and consumers alike do not want animals to suffer. We call for the rapid phase-out of all GMOs from animal feed supplies.”

Claire Robinson of the campaign group GMWatch said: “Several UK supermarkets recently abandoned their GM-free animal feed policies, citing lack of availability of non-GM feed. We call on the public to visit the new citizens’ action website gmoaction.org, where they can quickly and easily send an email to the supermarkets asking them to ensure their suppliers secure certified GM-free animal feed. This will mean placing advance orders for GM-free soy from countries like Brazil.

Study details

The research was conducted by collaborating investigators from two continents and published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Organic Systems. The feeding study lasted more than five months, the normal commercial lifespan for a pig, and was conducted in the US. The pigs were slaughtered at the usual slaughter age of over 5 months, after eating the diets for their entire commercial lifespan.

168 newly-weaned pigs in a commercial piggery were fed either a typical diet incorporating GM soy and corn, or else (in the control group) an equivalent non-GM diet. The pigs were reared under identical housing and feeding conditions. They were slaughtered over 5 months later, at the usual slaughter age, after eating the diets for their entire commercial lifespan. They were then autopsied by qualified veterinarians who worked “blind” – they were not informed which pigs were fed on the GM diet and which were from the control group.

The GMO feed mix was a commonly used mix. The GM and non-GM diets contained the same amount of soy and corn, except that the GM diet contained a mixture of three GM genes and their protein products, while the control (non-GM) diet had equivalent non-GM ingredients. Of the three GM proteins in the GM diet, one made a crop resistant to being sprayed with the herbicide Roundup, while two were insecticides.

Contact:

Claire Robinson, GMWatch, UK: claire@gmwatch.org To phone within UK: 0752 753 6923. To phone outside UK: +44 752 753 6923

Dr Judy Carman, Adelaide, Australia

Email: judycarman@ozemail.com.au

Mr Howard Vlieger, Maurice, Iowa

Email: studentofthesoil@mtcnet.net

 

Notes

1. Judy A. Carman, Howard R. Vlieger, Larry J. Ver Steeg, Verlyn E. Sneller, Garth W. Robinson, Catherine A. Clinch-Jones, Julie I. Haynes, John W. Edwards (2013). A long-term toxicology study on pigs fed a combined genetically modified (GM) soy and  GM maize diet. Journal of Organic Systems 8 (1): 38-54. Open access full text: www.organic-systems.org/journal/81/8106.pdf

2. Dr Judy Carman, BSc (Hons) PhD MPH MPHAA; Epidemiologist and Biochemist; Director, Institute of Health and Environmental Research, Adelaide, Australia; Adjunct Associate Professor, Health and the Environment, School of the Environment, Adelaide, Australia

3. For example:

www.responsibletechnology.org/posts/wp-ontent/uploads/2012/04/Soydamage1.pdf

www.i-sis.org.uk/GM_Soy_Linked_to_Illnesses_in_Farm_Pigs.php

Farmer interviews in the 2012 film, Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives, directed by Jeffrey Smith

Why??? Glow in the Dark Sheep, and Dogs and Cats Oh My

I guess I need to create a new category for posts. It will be called Daily Atrocities. Just because something can be done, does not mean that it should be done, but it seems scientists, politicians, and corporations funding these entities, have never heard that old adage. Or if they have heard it, they dismissed it as archaic nonsense.

It strikes me that nearly every form of mammalian genetic modification involves what is scripturally an unclean animal in one way or another. Inserting human genes into goats and cows, eel fish into salmon (I know, that isn’t a mammal), mice into pigs, jelly fish into pigs and cats and dogs and sheep. Sheesh.  If this is considered the future of farming, I have to find a different name for what it is I want to do.

I’m not against technology, but this stuff is almost convincing me to become a Luddite.

Scientists in Uruguay Genetically Engineer Sheep to Glow Under UV Light

by , 05/01/13

irauy, glowing sheep, bioengineer, genetically modified, uruguay

When you can’t sleep and need to count sheep to drift off, try wrapping your brain one of these eerie glowing lambs from South America. Scientists from the Animal Reproduction Institute of Uruguay (IRAUy) have genetically engineered nine animals to light up under UV light by incorporating a gene from the Aequorea victoria jellyfish. The research is intended to help easily identify genetically modified processes in animals.

irauy, glowing sheep, bioengineer, genetically modified, uruguay

IRAUy, connected to the Genetically Modified Animals Unit of the Pasteur Institute, has raised a flock of nine “brilliant lambs” that they have engineered to glow green under ultra-violet light. While most animal engineering is occupied with modifying organisms to produce compounds useful to humans through their milk, such as growth hormone or insulin, the project was intended to solely refine methods of manipulation.

“We did not use a protein of medical interest or to help with a particular medicine because we wanted to fine-tune the technique. We used the green protein because the color is easily identifiable in the sheep’s tissues,” Alejo Menchaca, the head of the research team told the South Atlantic News Agency. “Our focus is generating knowledge, make it public so the scientific community can be informed and help in the long run march to generate tools so humans can live better, but we’re not out in the market to sell technology.”

The project raises a myriad of ethical questions, ranging from whether or not jellyfish genetics belong in a grazing mammal, to what the long-term implications of altering an established genome will affect the well-being of both animals and humans. The team at IRAUy insists that the sheep behave normally and are closely monitored. Yet, despite appearing to function without incident, the full consequences of furthering such research has yet to be seen. The scientists hope to trigger the interest of the pharmaceutical industry, opening up a new avenue of debate as to the safety and moral ramifications of engineering animals to produce substances intended for human health.

Read more: Scientists in Uruguay Genetically Engineer Sheep to Glow Under UV Light | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

Jellyfish Genes Make Glow-in-the-Dark Cats

By David Biello | September 12, 2011 |  Comments10


First there were glow-in-the-dark fish, then rats, rabbits, insects, even pigs. And, now, researchers have inserted the jellyfish genes that make fluorescent proteins into Felis catus, or the common household cat.

glowing-kitten-next-to-regular-cat

The goal was just to make sure that the researchers could successfully insert novel genes into the cats. Past efforts at cloning and injecting DNA into fertilized cat embryos, among other genetic modification techniques, had failed. But the good doctors at the Mayo Clinic and Yamaguchi University in Japan succeeded by injecting a lentivirus bearing the novel genetics directly into unfertilized cat eggs. (Human immunodeficiency viruses 1 and 2 (HIV-1 and HIV-2), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) are all lentiviruses, named for their slow incubation period.)

glowing-catThe result is visible to the naked eye (under blue light).

The goal is to use genetically modified cats as a better proxy for human diseases. After all, FIV plagues cats in much the same way that HIV plagues people. For that reason, cats can serve as useful animal models for learning more about the human version of the disease. The researchers, or their colleagues, plan to continue manipulating the cat genome to test potential gene therapies for HIV and other potential cures for AIDS.

But it’s also only a matter of time until a night-glowing cat (say goodbye to nightlights and tripping over the cat!) becomes a breed and joins the GloFish at the pet store.

Need Another Reason to Buy Beef From a Local Farmer?

How about a year long investigation by reporters from the Kansas City Star that shows solidly how fast paced factory processing and meat additives greatly increase e-coli O157-H7? You know, the stuff that puts too many into the hospital, destroys their quality of life and kills those with compromised immune systems.

Seriously folks, seek out a cattle grower and get your beef processed at a local butcher shop. It will increase your health, strengthen the family farms, lower consolidation and keep your local economy moving better than Obamacare will.

Please read the article below, and then if you feel comfortable with the beef from the box store, let me know:

                                                                                      Beef’s Raw Edges

by Mike McGraw for the Kansas City Star

Your choice...Grass Fed Happy Beef? Or, if you prefer......

Your choice…Grass Fed Happy Beef? Or, if you prefer……

Margaret Lamkin doesn’t visit her grandchildren much anymore. She never flies. She avoids wearing dresses. And she worries about infections and odors.

Three years ago, at age 87, Lamkin was forced to wear a colostomy bag for the rest of her life after a virulent meat-borne pathogen destroyed her colon and nearly killed her.

What made her so sick? A medium-rare steak she ate nine days earlier at an Applebee’s restaurant.

Lamkin, like most consumers today, didn’t know she had ordered a steak that had been run through a mechanical tenderizer. In a lawsuit, Lamkin said her steak came from National Steak Processors Inc., which claimed it got the contaminated meat from a U.S. plant run by Brazilian-based JBS — the biggest beef packer in the world.

“You trust people, trust that nothing is going to happen,” Lamkin said, “but they (beef companies) are mass-producing this and shoveling it into us.”

The Kansas City Star investigated what the industry calls “bladed” or “needled” beef, and found the process exposes Americans to a higher risk of E. coli poisoning than cuts of meat that have not been tenderized.

The process has been around for decades, but while exact figures are difficult to come by, a 2008 USDA survey showed that more than 90 percent of beef producers are using it on some cuts.

Mechanically tenderized meat — which usually isn’t labeled — is increasingly found in grocery stores, and a vast amount is sold to family-style restaurants, hotels and group homes. In many cases, grocery stores don’t even know the meat has been tenderized.

Cowschwitz?

Cowschwitz?

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/12/06/v-project_one/3951690/beefs-raw-edges.html#storylink=cpy

The 21,000£ Goldfish…Ignorance Gone to Seed

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1262250/Great-grandmother-tagged-selling-goldfish.html

Pet shop owner fined £1,000 and told to wear an electronic tag… for selling a GOLDFISH to a boy aged 14

By Jaya Narain
Last updated at 12:44 PM on 31st March 2010

Her offence was to unwittingly sell a goldfish to a 14-year-old boy taking part in a trading standards ‘sting’.

At most, pet shop owner Joan Higgins, 66, expected a slap on the wrist for breaking new animal welfare laws which ban the sale of pets to under-16s.

Instead, the great-grandmother was taken to court, fined £1,000, placed under curfew – and ordered to wear an electronic tag for two months.
Seven-week curfew: Joan Higgins has to wear an electronic tag

Seven-week curfew: Joan Higgins has to wear an electronic tag

The punishment is normally handed out to violent thugs and repeat offenders.

The prosecution of Mrs Higgins and her son Mark is estimated to have cost taxpayers £20,000 and has left her with a criminal record.

Mark, 47, was also fined and ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work in the community.

Last night, as an MP criticised the magistrates, Mrs Higgins – who has run the pet shop for 28 years – said the family’s eight-month ordeal had left them traumatised.

She added: ‘It’s ridiculous. I mean, what danger am I that I have to wear an electronic tag? These last few months have been a very stressful time.’

The seven-week curfew imposed by the court means she is unable to babysit her great-grandson at his home or go to bingo sessions with her sister, and will be unable to attend a Rod Stewart concert after tickets were bought for her by her nephew, actor Will Mellor.
Joan and Mark Higgins

Joan Higgins, 66, and her son Mark, 47, have both been ordered to pay fines after selling a goldfish to a 14-year-old boy

Her son said: ‘I think it’s a farce. What gets me so cross is that they put my Mum on a tag – she’s nearly 70, for goodness’ sake.

‘She’s a great-grandma so she won’t be able to babysit a newborn baby. You would think they have better things to do with their time and money.’

Mr Higgins claimed the undercover operation was a clear case of entrapment – when a person is encouraged by someone in some official capacity to commit a crime – and said the case should never have gone to court.

He said: ‘The council sent the 14-year-old in to us. It is hard to tell how old a lad is these days. He looked much older than 14.’

He added that his mother almost fainted in the dock when magistrates told her she could go to prison for the offence.

‘I told her they wouldn’t send her to prison but she was still worried,’ he said. ‘The only other time she has been in court is when she did jury service.’
Majors Pet shop in Sale, Greater Manchester, where the incident occurred

Majors Pet shop in Sale, Greater Manchester, owned by Joan and Mark Higgins

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 it is illegal to sell pets – including goldfish – to children under the age of 16 unless they are accompanied by an adult. Pet shops must also provide advice on animal welfare to buyers.

The maximum penalty is imprisonment for up to 12 months, or a fine of up to £20,000, or both.

The Higgins family’s ordeal began when council officials heard that Majors Pet Shop in Sale, Greater Manchester, was selling animals to children.

They sent the 14-year-old schoolboy into the shop to carry out a test purchase and Mr Higgins sold him the goldfish without questioning his age or providing any information about the care of the fish.

A council officer in the shop at the time also noticed a cockatiel in a cage that appeared to be in a poor state of health. A vet found the bird had a broken leg and eye problems. It was later put down.
Enlarge p4graphic

Mrs Higgins and her son were charged with selling the fish to a person aged under 16 and with causing unnecessary suffering to a cockatiel by failing to provide appropriate care and treatment.

Pleading guilty, Mrs Higgins told Trafford magistrates the cockatiel had not been for sale and she had been bathing its eye daily.

More…

* Need to move a dumped mattress? It’s dangerous, we’ll need a JCB, says ‘jobsworth’ council
* The end of the pedalling postie: Health and safety fears lead to phasing out of bikes

She had intended to take it to the vet but had been distracted and worried because her other son was in hospital.

The court heard that Mrs Higgins had possessed a licence to sell animals for many years and had never had any problems before.

She was fined £1,000 and given a community order with a curfew requiring her to stay home between 6pm and 7am for seven weeks.

Mrs Higgins did not have her licence to sell animals removed, but both she and her son were told that if they ever appeared in court for a similar offence they could face a jail sentence.

David Davies, Tory MP for Monmouth, said: ‘You simply couldn’t make it up. It is absolutely ludicrous that old ladies should be hounded through the courts and electronically tagged for something like this.
Pugh Hes In For Aiding and Abetting.jpg

‘At a time when courts are being told not to lock up career burglars we have them issuing severe punishments like this on little old ladies.’ Mr Davies, who has served as a special constable for three years, said: ‘Not only is it traumatic for her but it is a complete waste of time and taxpayers’ money. It is ridiculous.

‘Instead of getting 14-year-old boys to act in this type of sting they should have them trying to nail people who sell drugs outside our schools.’

Trafford Council said it launched an investigation after an unsubstantiated complaint that the shop had sold a gerbil to a 14-year-old girl with learning disabilities. The council claimed the animal later died after the child placed it in a disposable coffee cup with a plastic lid on top.

But the complaint did not form part of the legal action in court and its truth cannot be verified.

Mrs Higgins said the shop had not stocked gerbils for months before the complaint anyway.

Defending the goldfish case, Iain Veitch, head of public protection at Trafford Council, said: ‘The evidence presented for this conviction clearly demonstrates that it is irresponsible to sell animals to those who are not old enough to look after them.

‘Let this conviction send out a message that we will not tolerate those who cause unnecessary suffering to animals. The council will always try to support pet and business owners so that they are able to care for their animals properly, but where they continually ignore the advice they are given, we will not hesitate to use our statutory powers.’

The goldfish was later adopted by an animal welfare officer and is in good health.

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