Loomus MTÜ (Loomus NGO), Eesti Loomakaitse Selts MTÜ (Estonian Animal Protection Society NGO, ELS), Varjupaikade MTÜ (Shelter Association NGO, VMTÜ), and Rõõmsad Hüpped MTÜ (Joyful Jumps NGO) jointly condemn the sale of pets in stores for the following reasons:
- Stores cannot ensure natural or suitable conditions for animals. For example, the requirements for keeping pets do not take into account the actual need for movement:
- The cage area for a rabbit must be 0.9 square meters (for a rabbit weighing up to 5 kilograms, less for a smaller rabbit), with an additional 0.45 square meters required for each subsequent rabbit;
- The cage area for a guinea pig must be 0.3 square meters, with an additional 0.15 square meters required for each subsequent guinea pig;
- For birds less than 16 cm long, a cage with an area of 0.31 square meters and a height of 0.6 meters is sufficient, with only a 0.03 square meter increase for each additional bird;
- The size of the cage/aquarium is not defined for reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates.
- A lot of employees responsible for animals lack adequate training and knowledge on how to care for the animals they sell;
- Due to harsh transport conditions, over half of the animals imported into Estonia either die or are sold in poor health. Based on ENDCAP, for every wild animal captured and sold as a pet, an estimated 50 animals die during transit;
- The breeding conditions of the animals are unknown, leading to potential hereditary health problems;
- Selling animals in stores does not guarantee that the new owner is capable and motivated to care for the animal, as there is no background check on the new owner;
- Selling animals in stores reinforces the societal perception that animals are objects or commodities, not sensitive living beings with intrinsic value.
The signatories of the petition demand the following:
- Revoke Section 33.1 of the Animal Welfare Act (Keeping pets in stores).
- Establish a ban on the sale of pets in stores in the Animal Welfare Act.
- In 2019, the Estonian Animal Protection Society resques guinea pigs from a pet store, whose teeth had grown so long that they were not able to eat. The animals were therefore starvig. (ELS)
- During an inspection visit to the Depo store in 2020, ELS detected several violations in keeping conditions of animal, for which an injunction was also issued by the officials. The fish kept in the store lacked shelter, too many parrots are kept in cages, the wall of the bird cage did not have a grid that the birds could climb on. Similar problems still occur in the store. The latest case dates back to earlier this year. (ELS)
- In the spring of 2021, a rabbit kept in abnormal conditions in the DEPO construction store died immediately after purchase. DEPO itself confirmed that they follow all animal welfare standards, and all animals have health certificates.
- In the KIKA Mustamäe store in the summer of 2021, guinea pig pups with a genetic problem of overgrown teeth were sold, preventing the animals from eating. The store did not assist the animals. One of the guinea pig pups died, and the other required long-term treatment and recovery. In 2022, KIKA announced that they would stop selling live animals. (ELS)
- A customer bought two female mice from Zoomaailm on Lauteri Street on September 30, and on October 11, the mice gave birth. One of the purchased mice was already sick (respiratory virus), and treatment is ongoing. (VMTÜ)
- On March 26, 2021, 33 rats came under the care of Varjupaikade MTÜ, 7 of which were only 1-2 days old. It all started with two rats taken from a pet store, about whom the store provided information that they were rats of the same sex. The young, inexperienced animal owners tried their best to take care of the baby rats, but soon the rats had babies again and things started to get out of hand. At the shelter, the animals received treatment because they had malformed eyes as a result of inbreeding. (VMTÜ)
- In the summer of 2021, the animal owner abandoned six guinea pigs, stuffing some of them into small boxes and some of them into a tub of mayonnaise, and in the middle of the night, he let the bags of guinea pigs with a rope over the fence of the shelter. The guinea pigs spent the whole night in terrible conditions. The male animals were stuffed into a small box where they didn't even have room to turn around. The females were pressed together in a tub of mayonnaise. The poor guinea pigs were under a lot of stress from this winching, and it took quite some time to get them back to health. (VMTÜ)
- Arriving at the shelter one morning, our volunteer noticed a cardboard box floating next to a trash can in the corner of the garden. When they started to throw it in the trash, the box felt suspiciously heavy. When they opened the box, they saw six giant African snails. Someone had secretly decided to get rid of their pets and quietly put them inside the gate of the shelter. (VMTÜ)
In addition to the initiators Loomus MTÜ, Eesti Loomakaitse Selts MTÜ, Varjupaikade MTÜ ja Rõõmsad Hüpped MTÜ following organisations also support the initiative: Eesti Vegan Podcast, Eestimaa Loomakaitse Liit, ajakiri Vegan, MTÜ Kurrmäu, Pesaleidja MTÜ, MTÜ Väikeste Loomade Abi, MTÜ Kassiabi, MTÜ NELI KÄPPA, MTÜ Tartu Kassikaitse.