The pet population in India has grown from 7 million in 2006 to 10 million in 2011. On an
average 600,000 pets are adopted every year. The pet-care sector in India — already pegged at
over Rs 81 billion is expected to grow at over 35% every year.
The Indian pet market is now $800-million-plus industry, and is expected to register strong
double-digit retail value growth in the coming years.
Rising disposable income is a huge contributing factor for the growth of pet industry in India,
with the annual disposable income of Indians reaching $1.576 billion in 2012. According to
Goldman Sachs, India's GDP per capita in US$ terms will quadruple from 2007 to 2020, and the
Indian economy will surpass the US by 2043.
A pet serves as a companion animal to us humans and owning a pet has been turning to a
growing culture all over the world. As a result, the pet trade has become a big business
throughout the world, including in India. Although keeping a pet has got its positive aspects,
there are many negative effects that cannot be left unseen and ignored.
Some of these negative aspects that need to be discussed and worked upon for sustainable pet
trade are as follows:
1. Breeding trouble: Breeders regularly mate closely related animals in an attempt to pass
down certain characteristics, which has led to genetic defects in virtually every breed.
2. Standard of living in animal shelters: The pet animals are raised in cramped, crude and
filthy conditions in some animal shelters. In extensive breeding facilities, animals are
kept constantly confined and deprived of adequate veterinary care and socialization.
3. Pet shops: Pet shops selling animals invariably keep animals in pathetic conditions. Also,
many people impulsively buy animals from pet stores knowing little about their needs.
Many animals which are purchased get abandoned or die from neglect or improper care
due to lack of proper guidance and lack of pet rearing manuals.
4. Illicit Wildlife trade: Globally, illegal trade of wildlife is estimated to be worth $19
billion per year and is rising at an alarming rate. The legal trade stands at much higher
$300 billion per year. Such massive global exploitation of wild animals and plants is
bringing many of the species to the brink of extinction.
In view of the unorganised nature of pet trade, its integral links with illegal wildlife trade,
concerns of invasiveness and its impacts on natural ecosystems, cruel means of rearing pets, and
health concerns, developing standards in pet trade is need of the hour. A well-designed
certification standard for sustainable pet trade will address these concerns. Most importantly, it
will promote conservation of wildlife, ease regulation of international trade in wildlife and their
safety and enhance societal and industrial benefits.
We seek your valuable comments, feedback and suggestions to take this idea forward and elicit support of relevant stakeholders. Mail: [email protected]