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    Ethics in all aspects of animal keeping including aquatics are improving; however, do you know that laws apply to you as an aquarist?

    The Animal Welfare Act was passed in the EU in 2006, introduced in England and Wales in early 2007. It represents the most significant change to animal welfare law in nearly a century. The legislation in place prior to 2006 was the Protection of Animals Act 1911.

    Most significantly for the first time it has introduced legislation for all pet owners, giving them a legal duty of care to meet the five welfare needs of their fish.

    The law also applies to those who are responsible for fish, such as those that breed fish, pet stores or aquatic display centres, but for the first time this new law applies to domestic fish keeping and you!

    Please note if your child (under 16 years) looks after a fish, it is your responsibility (Not the child’s) to comply with the law.

    This means all pet owners are now legally obliged to care for their fish properly by providing these five basic needs:

    1.       its need for a suitable environment at all times,

    2.       its need for a suitable diet,

    3.       its need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns,

    4.       any need it has to be housed with, or apart from, other animals, and

    5.       its need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

    A seneye device can help you maintain a stable, pollution-free aquatic environment; this in turn will help prevent against pain, suffering, injury and disease to your fish. In short it will help you to comply with the law.

    Aside from the obvious ethical argument, making people be more aware and reduce fish deaths will help reduce the greenhouse gasses produced by transporting fish around the world to meet sales demand and therefore also help alleviate the pressures on wild stocks.

    Further useful information and help on this act can be found in this document.

    FBAS guidelines

    Other useful links to animal welfare groups:

    OATA  - Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association - www.ornamentalfish.org/

    RSPCA - The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - www.rspca.org.uk/

    Cefas - Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science – http://www.cefas.defra.gov.uk/

    Aquatic Animal Health & Movements (formerly Efish Business) – http://www.defra.gov.uk/aahm/

    Cites - Animal Health – http://www.animalhealth.defra.gov.uk/cites/