A Ban on the Sale of Ferrets in Pet Stores
We applaud this provision of Article 73 of the Animal Protection Bill: "It is forbidden to sell dogs, cats, and ferrets in pet stores."
We believe that neither ferrets, dogs, nor cats should be sold in pet stores. We also stand by the clear and unequivocal arguments listed by the Ferret Enthusiasts Association – Tvorum.
To end the process of early socialization, ferrets should be with their mother and the rest of their group until they are eight weeks old. Further, their mother's immunization protects them from canine distemper until that age because she gets vaccinated against it. After eight weeks, ferrets are at risk of contracting infections if they are kept at busy locations such as pet stores.
Ferrets are highly intelligent, social animals that need daily cognitive and physical stimulation. They can only receive that care from a person who is willing to play with them for a few hours a day. When they are younger, this means three to four hours a day, and once they reach four years of age, their level of daily activity drops. Socialization and interaction with humans from an early age are necessary and characteristic for ferrets. They guarantee that the animal will be accustomed to people and suitable as a pet from an early age.
Due to a lack of interaction through play, too much artificial/daily light, inadequate diet and housing arrangements, and various other oversights, ferrets kept in pet stores suffer from stress, develop problems with fur, skin, sight, and scent, and become distrustful and scared. If they are scared, they can become aggressive and are more likely to experience premature sexual maturity. Females can also prematurely experience estrous due to excessive environmental temperatures and too much light. This extended estrous can cause a series of health issues (hyperestrogenism, alopecia, pyometra, and more). In some cases of prolonged estrous, estrogen can cause anemia and death.
Since pet stores cannot provide ferrets with enough daily interaction, play, and stimulation, these unsocialized or partially socialized animals are scared, stressed, and distrustful of people, and they react unnaturally to interaction (biting). There is no scientifically established basis for keeping ferrets as pets in scientific literature (Quesenberry, Carpenter, Fox, Lewington).
Ferrets are not aggressive towards people by nature. Just like cats and dogs, they learn to socialize from an early age through regular interaction with people, thus becoming suitable stores. Keeping them in pet stores for an extended period causes many health-related problems due to daily/artificial light and high environmental temperatures. In almost 100 percent of cases, ferrets kept in pet stores are more likely to develop these problems than those that are kept as pets and spayed/neutered by their guardians when they reach 9 months of age.
Ferrets and some other companion animals are not suitable for cohabitation and will not necessarily get along with other pets, including other ferrets. In case the owner keeps rodents, lagomorphs, reptiles, or hunting dogs, it is necessary they shelter and release those animals separately, without letting them get in contact with a ferret. Ferrets are not recommended as pets in families with small children.
Published: September 2016