So hard for pet food suppliers, left to their own devices

Pet food suppliers may want to hold on to their celebrations after getting a support letter from the Department of Veterinary Services to deliver their goods during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period.

The order, which came into effect on March 18 to curb the Covid-19 pandemic, saw suppliers being stopped from delivering pet food to pet shops and hypermarkets despite animal and livestock feed being listed as part of the National Security Council’s “essential services”.

Pet food importer and distributor Pet World Marketing Sdn Bhd had written to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) seeking approval to deliver their goods but the request was rejected in a letter dated March 24.

On March 25, the Department of Veterinary Services issued a support letter for pet food suppliers to operate.

The support letter by DVS.

MITI secretary-general Datuk Lokman Hakim Ali, however, said his ministry was in no position to give approval.

“MITI can only approve essential services in the manufacturing industry. That is why the initial application was rejected as the company is an importer and distributor, not a manufacturer,” said Lokman.

“The letter from DVS is a support letter, not a letter allowing them to operate. As such, the company should seek clearance from the rightful ministry which I believe is the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry.”

“It is definitely not under MITI.”

The support letter was intended to “care for the welfare of animals”.

Insiders revealed that the “final say comes from the local council”. While the local council has the authority over pet stores, pet food suppliers remain stranded as they are still unable to deliver products to the pet shops.

Pet World Marketing chief executive officer Choy Peng Yew was elated with the support letter from DVS.

But he admitted it was only the first step to obtaining approval from the authorities to deliver food products during the MCO.

“We hope to use this support letter in our appeal to the respective authority,” added Choy.

Yesterday, Twentytwo13 highlighted concerns by Society For The Prevention of Cruelty To Animals (SPCA) Selangor chairman Christine Chin after she was informed that pet food distributors were not allowed to operate during the MCO.

The order, initially set from March 18 to 31, has since been extended to April 14.

Pet World Marketing is a full time donor to SPCA Selangor and other animal shelters in the Klang Valley.

Pet shops, along with pet food, are considered essential items in the UK following that government’s decision to impose a partial ‘lockdown’ on Monday.

Authorities in Maharashtra, which has the largest number of people who tested positive for Covid-19 in India, also announced a lockdown on Monday but classified pet stores and veterinary clinics as essential services.

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