Championing ethical pet care

In franchising, the choice of where to invest is a decision not to be taken lightly. Among the factors prospective franchisees must consider, perhaps none is more vital than trust.

Championing ethical pet care

In franchising, the choice of where to invest is a decision not to be taken lightly. Among the factors prospective franchisees must consider, perhaps none is more vital than trust. Trust in the brand’s expertise, support and, crucially, trust in the ethical underpinning of its business practices.

As pet ownership continues to rise and the pet-care landscape continues to evolve, a noteworthy transformation is underway within pet-care franchising. At its helm is the Pet Care Franchise Association (PCFA), a newly formed trade organisation forged through collaboration among leading pet-care franchises. Together, their primary aim is to enhance animal welfare standards for companion animals across the country.

Here, Director of Petpals Kevin Thackrah discusses the latest milestone for the PCFA and chats to the person spearheading the campaign – Petpals’ Brand Development Manager David Gray – on why it is so significant for Petpals, pet-care franchising and the pet-care sector as a whole.

As the UK’s pet-care industry reached a valuation of £3.1 billion in 2021*, it becomes evident that our furry companions occupy an increasingly special place in our hearts. However, this surge in demand for pet-care services has brought about an unsettling rise in unlicensed and below-standard care providers. This sobering reality has acted as the driving force behind Petpals and other pet-care franchises, Barking Mad, PetStay and We Love Pets. Jointly, we have united under the banner of the PCFA to initiate a nationwide campaign. This concerted effort underscores our unwavering dedication to putting pet welfare at the forefront and upholding the highest ethical standards.

Following the official recognition with City of London Corporation acting as Primary Authority for PCFA members, the organisation has gained significant influence in establishing national standards for the franchised pet-care industry with local authorities. This recognition strengthens the PCFA’s position as a leading power in promoting and maintaining animal welfare standards, making it a trusted resource for franchisees, pet owners and industry stakeholders alike.

“The PCFA’s recognition with City of London in establishing a Primary Authority partnership will significantly bolster our efforts to influence consistency and higher standards working with local authorities,” said David. “It provides us with a stronger platform to advocate for and shape regulatory change that prioritise animal welfare in the pet-care industry, solidifying our position as a respected body and enabling us to work closely with local authorities to implement the highest possible standards of care.

“There have been many inconsistencies and issues with how local authorities interpret the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) regulations on boarding and animal care. Many people are boarding without licences, boarding pets without training or support or operating as self-employed for countries outside the UK. We aim to reduce these inconsistencies, cut the red tape and put the focus back on animal welfare.”

Following this focus on home boarding, the PCFA will turn its attention to dog walking and public safety. “While home boarding has been our initial focus, we recognise the importance of ensuring the wellbeing of pets extends to all aspects of their care,” explained David. “By addressing dog walking and public safety, we aim to continue to raise standards, enhance training and promote responsible practices within the industry. Our goal is to create a safer environment for both dogs and the public while reinforcing the reputation of pet-care services as reliable and trustworthy.”

Much more needs to be done as it is too easy for unethical pet-care providers to slip through the net and deliver care that does not meet minimum standards. At Petpals, we firmly believe that pet ownership is a privilege, not a right. That is why we wholeheartedly champion the commitments of the PCFA and will continue to represent the various initiatives as we work with other trusted brands for the rights of pets around the country.

Our partnership with the PCFA is not just a strategic move – it is a reflection of our core values and a promise to our customers, franchisees and, most importantly, our four-legged companions. The fusion of ethics and excellence is not just a business strategy – it propels us toward a future where responsible pet care is not just a necessity, but a deep commitment we all uphold.Bottom of Form

* Statista, 2021, Pet care market value

Kevin Thackrah
Kevin Thackrah