An open letter by the pet food industry to all local, regional and national officials/authorities regarding pet food supply during COVID-19 precautionary measures taken.
Need to exempt specialized pet stores from emergency closures of retail
The European and national pet food industry associations and pet food companies stand in solidarity with the exceptional measures taken by authorities at national, regional, local and European level against the coronavirus pandemic.
Many European people will have to stay at home and limit their trips. In these difficult times, and more than ever, their pets will be a source of comfort and bring them many benefits both physically and psychologically. There are an estimated 80 million pet owning households in the EU, with 140 million cats and dogs, 35 million ornamental birds, 20 million small mammals, 10 million aquaria plus 6 million reptiles.
It is therefore vital that businesses that provide products or services for the care of pets are included among the essential infrastructure that is allowed to remain open throughout the crisis. Just as food stores/supermarkets provide necessary supply to humans, pet businesses must remain operational to ensure the continued care millions of pet animals.
Food stores/supermarkets which may generally remain open according to safeguard measures taken by authorities provide only partially and only the basic dietary needs of some, but not of all pet animals.
Specialised pet food, supplements and even some medication that are required to maintain the health of millions of pets and animals are sold to pet owners in the vast majority via specialised pet stores. Forcing these specialised pet stores and veterinary clinics to close in many cases will therefore shut down access of pet owners to vital supplies and pet animals would suffer.
Keeping these specialised pet outlets open in many cases will therefore provide access of pet owners to vital supplies and protect pet animals from suffering or from abandonment of pets by their owners.
The pet food industry therefore asks authorities at all levels to ensure that pet owners have the ability to provide appropriate care for pet animals, and list pet stores as essential retailers that are exempt from any mandatory closures.