An award-winning pet company says the industry needs to change its attitude towards the welfare of small animals, describing the current approach as ‘archaic’.
HayPigs! is the first small animal accessories business to specialise in guinea pigs, winning numerous business and industry awards. The company prides itself at being at the forefront of changing attitudes towards their welfare needs.
Co-founder Rik Cridland said: “Every week, hundreds of guinea pigs in the UK end up in rescues. There are a multitude of reasons for this, but what we see and hear on a day-to-day basis is horrifying and disturbing.
“The UK pet trade needs to wake up and start taking its responsibility as educators seriously. It is at the point of purchase that we have the biggest opportunity to educate new pet owners on better understanding what is required to give these animals a fulfilling life.
“As a brand, we are a champion for change and there is no better motivation to drive our business forward, than the opportunity to do this.
“The team here at HayPigs! is always very approachable and happy to give advice and direction. We hope that by making a statement like this, we can start a debate and see some real change.”
Rik made his comments on Guinea Pig Appreciation Day today (Thursday), adding: “We should appreciate guinea pigs every day, not just once a year. We’re obviously delighted to have a day in which we can wax lyrical about these adorable little creatures but we built our brand to give guinea pigs a voice and it’s time to talk a bit more seriously about what we’ve discovered over the past six years of working with, and caring for, guinea pigs.
“At the core of our business is a passion and desire to change the way we view small animals as a pet. Guinea pigs are an incredibly intelligent, social animal with far more complicated welfare needs than many currently give them credit for.”
According to HayPigs! these are just some of reasons guinea pigs are ending up in rescue centres:
> . Children bored of their pets and parents fed up of looking after them
> . Ill guinea pigs surrendered because owners don’t want to pay the vet bills
> . Found in skips, on top of bins, roaming wild in parks
> . Rescued from horde cases where owners have lost control of breeding
> . Sold as food for reptiles
> . Given away ‘for free’ or for nominal transactions on free ad websites