Humans have pets to cope with loneliness and cure their anxieties, thus leading to a whirlwind growth in the pet care ecosystem- right from pet food, pet spas, pet treats, nutrition, and grooming. But growth in this sector isn't necessarily good in a country where a lack of government laws and regulations can often traumatise animals.
Though as per Market Decipher, the Indian pet care industry was expected to grow at 6.2% between 2020 and 2027, new reports by ET suggest a better growth in the pet care industry. The pet care industry, which is currently at about Rs 4,000 crore is set to be a Rs 10,000 crore industry in India by 2025.
Why is the pet care industry growing? When Covid hit the world, people either had no one to chill with or ended up wanting to have someone to chill with. The easy solution came through innocent pets, who could cure anxiety issues and help people cope with loneliness. As people spent a lot of time cooped up in spaces with their pets, the tendency to indulge them with treats and packaged foods increased. Thus began the change in people's attitudes towards pets, known as ''pet humanisation''. This was evidenced by a rise in demand for pet indulgences that often came in the form of pet treats, packaged foods, branded toys, and accessories.
Pet cafes and pet spas have been on the rise in metro cities for a while now. (In fact, I and my friends even spent an hour at a Pet Cafe to celebrate a friend's birthday) So it's not surprising that Mars Pet Products, one of the largest pet product sellers in India, doubled its sales between 2019 and 2021. As per Mars, substantial growth in pet ownership has led to a growth in the entire pet care ecosystem - right from retail chains, pet spas, pet nutrition, grooming brands, and pet spas.
In addition, pet parents also don't mind spending on packaged foods for their pets, since they understand that cooked food that is consumed by humans may not necessarily be the best option for pets. And you always have Swiggy and Dunzo to get stuff delivered at home conveniently, not just in metros, but even in tier II and tier III cities.
The recent pet business acquisitions
But are we really ready? I recently visited a popular locality in Kurla, Mumbai, which is famous for its long lineup of aquarium stores. What I thought would be a delightful time of my life, turned out to be the most depressing experience ever. Why? Shops holding a license to be in the aquarium business were illegally selling puppies, rabbits, parrots, parakeets, and even pigeons for God's sake (as if they would help deliver love notes).
First, notice the paper bag in the right hand of the person in the first two seconds of the video.— Akshata Kamath (@AkshIsPublished) August 1, 2022
Second,the seller catches two birds. pic.twitter.com/aYn1HzsVD9
Third, the seller drops two living birds into the paper packet as if they are some plastic products.— Akshata Kamath (@AkshIsPublished) August 1, 2022
Mind you,the paper bag already has another living bird inside it. That's why the paper bag has holes punched on it- so that the bird inside can breathe.
At last, the tiny paper bag that now have three birds instead of one, is sealed again. With a STAPLER.— Akshata Kamath (@AkshIsPublished) August 1, 2022
How can we tolerate this? pic.twitter.com/30fyQL9opn
Apart from that, 10 to 15 rabbits were caged in small cages, a puppy cried in a dirty cage, and caged pigeons almost looked dead. And that made me wonder, are we really ready for this so-called pet care growth where there are barely any regulations in place? Even if there are, where is it really being executed?