LAHORE: The Pet Food Importers Association has called on the government to lift ban imposed on pet food imports as food from local manufacturers is not up to the standard to be fed to pets.
It merits mention that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Minister for Finance Miftah Ismail have separately announced there is no ban on import of pet food and its raw materials. However, the Pet Food Importers Association claim the ban is intact and is badly harming the industry.
According to details, representatives of the association, pet owners, veterinarians and pet food shop owners held a press conference at Lahore Press Club against the ban on imported pet food and later staged a protest at Shimla Pahari Chowk.
Addressing the press conference, Humayun Bajwa, chairman of the association, alleged that the government’s ban on pet food imports had led to a spate of pet killings.
“Many pets, including cats, dogs, birds and other animals, eat certain imported foods. If they are fed any other food, they like to die and do not eat any other food. The government’s ban on basic food for pets is unjust. The ban on pet food in the name of luxury items is not acceptable in any case. The government should immediately reconsider this decision and withdraw the ban,” he demanded.
However, when Profit asked Bajwa which local manufacturers had poor quality pet food, he declined to name a specific brand and said, “We will not name any company or brand, but the food we produce here does not like pets and is not capable of keeping animals healthy.
Another association representative later claimed in a press conference that the pet food worth 5 million dollars was imported this year, according to Federal Board of Revenue records.
“The whole food was not ordered by the pet owners but also by the many security agencies for the trained dogs. These agencies are also facing problems with dog food,” he said.
However, in a press conference, the representatives of the association threatened the government that if they do not prove to be pet friendly, their vote bank of the pet owners, importers, distributors will be destroyed.
However, while talking to Pakistan Today, a pet food vendor based in Lahore DHA said that imported pet food is just a ploy to appease the pet owner.
“I get a lot of customers every day who do not afford expensive and imported food for their pets and they use local food which is low cost compared to imported one and not substandard. Yes, I do not say that it can compete with the most expensive and most popular brands in the world, but their [local food] quality is not such that the animal cannot be fed”.
“In fact, importers, shopkeepers and veterinarians have more advantage in selling imported food as it has higher profit margins. Local food is available at a lower price so it has lower profit margins. In this country, children die of starvation and we insist on feeding dogs and cats expensive food. Pets, especially cats and dogs, stay healthy by eating chicken, beef and plain bread,” he concluded.