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About the NPI, our ethics, and the 5 Freedoms Plus

The National Pet Initiative is a charitable organisation whose aim is to improve animal welfare by promoting good quality care of small companion pets. We will do this by raising awareness and providing practical advice on pet care through the media, dedicated events, and representation at larger events.

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Contact us at chairman.nationalpi@gmail.com

Our NPI events have free admission, and provide visitors with information and first hand advice about the featured pet species via posters, handouts, examples, and discussions, along with the chance to meet some of the animals. The days also feature a taste of appropriate things owners can do with and for their pets.

Our advice will be in keeping with, and go some way beyond, the established 5 Freedoms set out by the government, and will meet the NPI ethics (see below). It will be tailored separately for each of the species we cover due to the widely differing considerations; an activity or source that is recommended for one species may be wholly inappropriate for another.

The teams responsible for collating and updating the advice will have personal experience of the species in question, and will take into account the latest developments as well as more established husbandry methods. Care is continuously evolving, and new options will be given fair consideration with open minds. The committee will give overall guidance when assessing whether the NPI ethics are being met.

You can get involved by signing up for our newsletter, pledging to help at an event, and by spreading the word: let it be known that our companions deserve our best care.

NPI - Ethics

The NPI will not promote any advice that results in animals being negatively impacted, it must fit with the ideals of our respect for them, and cooperation with them.

The NPI acknowledges that some compromises may be necessary in levels of care, not everybody will be able to provide the very best. Our advice will build up from a 'good enough' base level, but if that can't be met, the NPI would recommend postponing ownership, or considering a different pet species instead.

The NPI believes that pets should be taken on with a lifelong commitment, we will not encourage anyone to take on more than they can manage, and they should be able to provide a safe and secure permanent home for their animals.

The NPI encourages the sourcing of animals from responsible rescues, or through private rehoming, but advises against supporting establishments who regularly overstretch themselves, or who do not provide adequate care.

The NPI considers that any breeding should be in the interests of the species as a whole in terms of them as pets, not purely for showing, profit, or to meet demand. Breeders should not add to the load already placed on rescues by other sources. If the NPI is not convinced that there is a reasonably widespread culture of responsible breeding for a species, then breeders will not be recommended as a source.

The NPI will not suggest getting involved with the related Fancy unless it believes that Fancy has the best interests of the animals at its core. Animals involved must not be subjected to procedures which we consider are detrimental to their quality of life.

NPI - 5 Freedoms Plus

1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst - by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour. Plus the diet given should be of good quality, and meet not only physical needs, but also mental needs, and be presented in enriching ways.

2. Freedom from Discomfort - by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area. Plus the environment should also enable the provision of varied opportunities for enrichment and exercise.

3. Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease - by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment. Plus this extends to include, where appropriate, procedures such as routine neutering. Also, registration with an experienced vet in advance.

4. Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour - by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal's own kind.
Plus normal behaviour requires suitable enrichment, in a suitable enclosure. Companions (when relevant for the species) need to be of an appropriate sex, age, and neutering state.

5. Freedom from Fear and Distress - by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering. Plus predator and prey species need to be kept separate, there are no benefits but many risks in letting most small animals interact with each other or with larger pets such as cats and dogs.

These freedoms should apply not only to the animals while in an individual's care, but also to the place they were sourced from.