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Pet farm living conditions – acceptable or unacceptable?

Poor hygiene and poor pet knowledge contribute to poor living conditions at pet farms
CATS Classified In The Straits Times - March 13, 2011
By: Adele Ong
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Pet farm living conditions – acceptable or unacceptable?

When seven animal welfare groups went undercover to visit 35 pet shops and pet farms in the last two months of 2010, they found that 19 of them failed to meet Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) standards in areas such as having proper flooring for the animals’ cages.

Besides unsuitable cage flooring, other findings that amounted to poor living conditions included cages that were too small, water supplied only through sip bottles, and poor hygiene. Why and how do these factors contribute to unacceptable living conditions for animals?

Firstly, unsuitable cage flooring often appears in the form of grille flooring, which is painful for animals to stand, walk or even lie on. The cages themselves, if too small, may not allow the pets in them to fully stand up, or easily move about. Pet farms and shops should give the animals in their care solid flooring for their enclosures, and ideally plenty of space per animal. Adult dogs that have had all their vaccinations should also be walked and exercised daily.

All 35 of the pet businesses visited in the undercover operation provided drinking water from bottles only. Water in sip bottles is harder for animals to access, and they may not drink enough if only bottles are used. Drinking bowls may be less convenient because of spills, and food or dirt getting into the water, necessitating more frequent changes and cleaning. However, they are a better way for pets to get all the water they need.

Conditions of poor hygiene may be created by not giving the animals appropriate areas or enough time to relieve themselves, so they end up walking or lying on their own waste matter. Cages packed too closely together, failure to vaccinate animals or give them regular medical care, the presence of parasites, failure to groom the animals appropriately, and spilt or spoilt food and contaminated drinking water may also contribute to conditions of poor hygiene and add to the stress the animals face.

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