New import regulations imposed following the end of the Brexit transition period on January 1 are having a ‘catastrophic’ effect on the UK pet industry.
That’s the view of leading suppliers of cage birds, small animals and reptiles, who warn of stock shortages in pet shops within days.
Extra paperwork and new health certificates brought in by the UK government at the start of 2021 has meant that imports of pet birds and animals from EU countries to the UK have come to a standstill.
“There are massive problems with the importation of birds, small animals and reptiles to the UK as a result of the new Brexit rules applied on January 1. At present the new rules and new health certificates are unworkable,” said Guy Smith, owner of Sky Birds.
“Breeders in Holland and Belgium are telling me that they won’t sign the new certificates and as a result I am running out of stock. Pet shops are becoming empty and there will be a knock-on effect on the sales of ancillary products like cages. The future of the UK pet industry is at stake.”
Guy tried to raise the issue with the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs but was simply directed to Brexit guidance on the government website. He has since contacted his local MP, Andrea Leadsom, who has written to Defra, calling for an urgent review.
Simon Wisson, of Simon’s Rodents, is having to turn down orders from pet shops because he can’t get hold of stock from EU countries.
“I’m hoping and praying that this problem gets rectified soon because my business is under threat,” said Simon. “It’s my hope that we can continue to service our customers at the same level we’ve achieved over the years.
“The UK government rushed through the new rules and health certificates without any thought or consideration. The health certificate needs amending quickly because at the moment it’s virtually a copy of the one EU countries have with third world countries. Our health status in the UK is much higher and the certificate should reflect that.
“Action is needed immediately or there could be catastrophic consequences for the pet industry in Britain.”
Mark Walker has more than 20 years’ experience of transporting racing pigeons and cage birds around Europe, and he believes the new paperwork is preventing stock from entering the UK.
“The current situation is frightening. There is no clarity on how the problem can be resolved. My business is down by two-thirds since the New Year and I’ve had to lose four drivers as well as reduce the hours of others.”
pbwnews contacted Defra for a comment and is waiting for a reply.