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  • Amanda George

The Nature Nook, Paignton

This is an example of The Sanctuary Angels' careful vetting process and working closely with Angel Grant recipients to ensure that core values are aligned, now and going forwards. We sent a £500 Angel Grant to The Nature Nook, Paignton, a small exotic animal rescue/ethical rescue pet store that had previously had some links with 'ethical breeders'. I talked at length with Makenzie about The Sanctuary Angels' stance on 'ethical breeding', explaining that we don't believe there is any such thing, while there are animals needing homes. We asked for an assurance that all such links had been severed and that they were now 'all about the rescue'. He explained that all of the animals in their ethical pet store are now rescues needing homes, and (following our conversations) he put a statement on their website and social media pages about their position on breeding (these needed updating). We were really pleased to work with them so that their core values are really clear to their supporters. The statement from their website is below the picture of beautiful Jimbo, a permanent rescued resident at the ethical pet store, who is now doing really well and living his best life.

"Over the past three years, we have seen a huge range of health issues caused by poor breeding or breeding by amateurs with little of the knowledge necessary to ensure that the animals involved remain safe and healthy. From guinea pigs with dental issues and genetic heart conditions, to a champagne morph ball python with severe head tilt. Many of these animals will live their lives in stress, pain, and discomfort due to human error.

The UK is currently facing a rescue crisis, with many rescues filled to the brim, with month's long waiting lists. There simply is not enough demand for the animals being bred to find them safe, suitable homes. Increasingly, guinea pig breeders struggle to find homes for their numerous boars, abandoning them at shows when they don't place. Ball python breeders are struggling to find homes for normal morphs as demand skyrockets for unique colour variations.

Inevitably, the rescue industry suffers as a result of these unethical practises. We turn down at least 5-10 animals per week due the lack of space and capacity to care for them. Competition for funding is extremely fierce as many small rescues continue to struggle.

As a result of all of this, we cannot morally or ethically support or promote the breeding of any animal, but particularly of common reptiles and small furries. Supply of these animals far outstrips demand, and few people either can, or are willing to provide the space, time, and vet care needed to ensure that these animals can thrive in the environment they deserve.

We are fully committed to eliminating the horrendous practices justified by the pet trade. As such, we will never source animals from breeders, or purchase them for sale as if they are stock to be counted from breeding operations. We will only ever house rescues, offering a safe, secure, and stable temporary home for those most in need.

We understand that there are breeders attempting to better various species, but until breeders can be properly inspected/licensed, we feel the risk far outweighs the benefit of these operations, particularly given the huge volumes of accidental litters due to missexing and lack of knowledge on the part of pet stores and potential owners."

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