Professional pet groomers, and members of the British Isles Grooming Association (BIGA) in particular, are eager to know what is going on with respect to the licensing or regulation of pet grooming. After all, since October last year, doggy daycares, home boarders as well as dog breeders and sellers of puppies in England have been required to obtain an animal activity licence. This requirement extends to other activities involving animals but, so far, does not include pet grooming.
Pet groomers can therefore expect, not unreasonably, that they are next in line when it comes to animal activity licensing. The question is less about 'If' than 'When'.
The Canine and Feline Sector Group (CFSG) advises government, specifically DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) with respect to animal activities licensing. They are the animal welfare experts behind last year's licensing.
BIGA was invited two years ago to join the CFSG as an associate member, with a view to represent professional pet grooming businesses when it comes to any regulation of pet grooming.
We are grateful to the CFSG for the invitation. After all, who better than actual pet groomers to help ensure that any measures introduced are realistic and practical?
The CFSG has recently provided BIGA with an update:
“There is an aim to get a non statutory set of standards which those wishing to improve the reputation of dog and cat groomers and to prove they operate to a a good standard will adopt of their own accord and which CFSG members would make the public aware existed.”
The statement went on to say:
“Once the huge amount of work around Brexit clears, we will be seeking to get DEFRA to add more activities to the Animal Activity Licensing Regulations of which grooming would be one so yes in the future it may well be regulated but not for the time being.”
What does this mean for professional pet grooming businesses today?
BIGA exists to promote the highest standards in animal welfare and professionalism in pet grooming businesses. We welcome any future animal activity licensing and look forward to an ongoing and active leadership role as discussions continue with the CFSG. We will be reaching out to our membership in due course about any potential 'gold standard' the industry may potentially create and embrace. The aim of this will help to provide pet owner reassurance, promote professionalism of pet grooming businesses and, best of all, protect animals in our care by ensuring the highest standards in animal welfare during pet grooming.