Updating Animal Welfare Licensing Regulations

Northern Ireland has seen a growth in new types of animal businesses such as shelters/sanctuaries, mobile animal exhibits, doggy day care and pet grooming parlours.

Shelters or ‘sanctuaries’ do invaluable work to rehabilitate and rehome animals, but a lack of safeguards exist to protect the welfare of animals based in such settings. As it stands, anybody can establish a sanctuary without being inspected or putting any welfare standards in place.

Animal exhibits including mobile zoos/animal encounters often provide enjoyable experiences at festivals or other community celebration, however, there is a risk that exhibition and all this entails has a detrimental impact on the welfare of the participating animals and they, therefore, deserve protection and safeguards.

The demands of a busy working life and the continuing desire to benefit from the companionship of a dog or cat has driven the growth in doggy day care establishments and pet grooming parlours. While recognising the important service provided by these establishments, the USPCA believes licencing is required to ensure certain standards are adhered to, and to offer assurances to the public that their pet’s health and welfare will not be compromised.