Sussex based business Pets Corner has donated £6,000 to the charity the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund to help combat the unlicensed and unregulated selling of rabbits online.
Rabbits are one of the most neglected pets in the UK and the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund is working to improve the lives of domestic rabbits through education and communication.
The donation from Pets Corner has gone towards employing a part time member of staff to oversee the charity’s latest initiative ‘The Capone Campaign’, which aims to identify unlicensed pet traders and report them to local authorities, the HMRC and DEFRA for further investigation.
Rae Todd at the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund commented: “Unlicensed and unregulated online pet shops are illegal and present huge concerns for rabbit welfare.
“Rabbits being sold by these traders are often housed in poor conditions and will not be receiving the level of care and attention required to ensure they remain happy and healthy.
“Buyers will not be screened nor be given essential advice relating to the rabbit’s handling, diet or wellbeing, which means rabbits may end up in the wrong hands and face neglect.
“There is also the added problem of a ‘hidden economy’ amongst illegal traders - undeclared income and tax avoidance is rife.
“Our mission is to identify and monitor any rabbit traders we believe to be illegal so that we can report them to local authorities and then compile a report to present to DEFRA so we can highlight which areas need further action to ensure rabbits are no longer suffering as a consequence of these illegal practices.”
Georgia McCormick has been appointed to take on the campaign. She joins the charity following six years working in the animal welfare sector.
She said: “In this modern age, the online selling of pets needs to be regulated in order to safeguard the welfare of animals - people need to understand that animals should not be exploited in order to just make a profit. I believe this campaign can make a real difference by making Local Authorities aware.”
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