It’s that time of year again when we are asked to renew our pet licence...but we are seriously wondering how much longer we will go on selling livestock and this has nothing to do with the ‘interest’ of animal rights activists we have endured recently, which I will explain below. Ten years ago there were at least six businesses within easy driving distance of us that held pet shop licences. Now there is only one and that shop is 10 miles away and it’s a further 15 miles till the next one. This makes us fairly unique, with a good unique selling point, so therefore we should have a healthy trade in small pets. Also, our reputation appears to be good according to reviews on TripAdvisor and Google, with the exception of my ‘animal rights friends’ whom I have previously mentioned! So why are we not selling more? Are people going off rabbits and hamsters? With the growth of the internet, our sale of cages and hutches has slowed right down. In fact, we haven’t sold an outdoor rabbit hutch in over 12 months and the one we have in stock has been reduced to just above cost and yet it still sits there. Bird cages and hamster cages tick away, but more often than not, the pet purchaser is in for everything except the cage because they bought it online – and as we all know, it’s the cage and everything else that makes the money, not the sale of the pet. When you add up the time and money you spend cleaning and feeding the pets, it soon becomes obvious that we would be more profitable not selling livestock. But then, we are a pet shop and pet shops should stock and sell pets because that’s what we do…Then I read that the number of pet shops licensed to sell pets has fallen to below 50%. We have applied for a licence for 2020 with reduced numbers, but we are definitely considering not applying for a licence for 2021. Sadly, it’s something I never thought I would do as I passionately believe that we offer a far better service and have higher animal welfare standards than most Internet sellers. However, with pressure on profit margins coming from so many angles, we have to consider if keeping livestock is still financially viable.