Plight of Pet Rats in South Africa

Pet shops in South Africa openly and unashamedly sell domestic rats as live food even though it is illegal to do so by Law.

Because rats are not seen as pets by Pet Shops but as fodder they are bred and confined under the most horrific conditions. Rats represent small profit to pet shops but what rats do, is help to sell the expensive snakes. If they did not %u2018stock%u2019 rats they could not sell snakes. Going to a pet shop and buying a couple of rats is like buying a bag of dog pellets.

Paula Spagnoletti from the South African Rat Fan Club says:

"You will often go into a pet shop and see tank after tank of %u2018snake food%u2019 - these rats are kept in filthy conditions. Some do not even have food and water available to them. I once ordered a pet shop to place food and water in the tank, and he asked me what the point would be because if they died of starvation/dehydration it would not matter because the snake would still eat them dead.

"In South Africa you can not even go to a pet shop and buy rat cages and accessories - pet shops do not even stock food for pet rats%u2026.rats are fodder not pets.

"Baby rats are kept behind counters and in storage rooms. Pet shops keep small plastic tanks filled with hundreds of still blind, little pinkies and fuzzies, some have already died of starvation/disease".

The Law in South Africa

In terms of the Animal Protection Act, Domesticated rats are offered the same protection as any other domesticated animal. An animal rights lawyer, Leigh de Sousa, tells us exactly how in terms of the law, the act protects domestic rats and this is what she had to say.
 %u201CThe Animal Protection Act was clearly promulgated and enacted with the specific purpose of protecting animals. Section 1 is important in determining what is an animal for the purposes of the application of the act. It specifically states%u2026%u2026or other domestic animal or bird, or any wild animal or reptile which is in captivity or under the control of any person.%u201D
Leigh de Souza (LAAW)

When there are cases brought against pet shops or members of the public for acts of gross animal cruelty the public prosecutor has previously refused to prosecute as they %u2018are just vermin%u2019 although in terms of the Animal Protection Act, domesticated rats %u2018qualify%u2019 for protection.

Please help the rats in South Africa and sign this petition
As a pet lover, I urge you to treat Pet Rats with the same respect and protection under your Animal Protection Act.   Pet Rats, sold live in Pet Shops are Pets NOT Food and should be treated with some dignity and should be provided for under the Animal Protection Act.

Pet Rats are wonderful creatures that can provide their owners with much happiness and joy as well as provide simulation for children and are a great pet.

Pet shops should be questioned and prevented from selling any pet that it does not offer any accommodation, toys or nutritional products for.  If you do not provide Pet Rat cages , why sell Rats?

It is sad and illegal under your own laws to kill Pet Rats on premises for the purpose of feeding other animals.  More powers should be given to the Courts and the NSPCA to uphold and maintain a minimum standard of care of Pets kept in stores and we urge you to stop considering Pet Rats as Vermin and give them the same status you do Cats, Dogs and other pets sold via the Pet Trade.

Thank you for considering my comments.
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