In the world there are currently 1,400 million pets, approximately, and Mexico has the virtue, or disadvantage, of being one of the countries with the most pets, the fourth country in particular according to data from Euromonitor. This is mainly cats and dogs; and not necessarily living in homes.
There are no official figures regarding the volume of dogs and cats, but several studies show that they have followed a growing trend during the last decade, and with a special increase since 2007 due to an increase in public insecurity. In addition to a decrease in the birth rate: if the births of children have fallen by 17% in recent years, the purchase or adoption of pets has increased by 20%. No, it is not by chance.
There are almost 23 million pets in Mexico, and 70% do not have a home to live in.
Given this situation, an intense debate is unleashed on how to face the problem. Public policies open vaccination and sterilization processes that are not capable of covering the entire population. Sacrifice campaigns for these animals are started - statistics show an average of 10,000 dogs each month - since 9 out of 10 pets found are not claimed by their owners.
In the words of Mariana García, from the Animal Sphere depetlovers platform in Mexico, this figure is difficult to modify in the medium term because changing people's habits is complex: Be that as it may, the evidence shows that there are approximately 23 million pets in the entire country, of which only 30% have a home, having more than half of the country's homes with a member of the animal world among its components.
Which means that 70% of them walk the streets of Mexico without protection or vaccination control. This causes not only a public health problem, but also a reproduction problem, since of the stray animals in the country, almost 10 million are not sterilized.
“There is still a long way to go to reach the culture of the United States or Europe in terms of love of pets. Although in Mexico little by little an evolution of consciousness is being seen. "
And meanwhile, the pet business is becoming one of the most profitable in the country.
A multi-million dollar business
Food, hairdressing services and luxury care, special items, shops ... everything so that our beloved pets do not miss anything. Or at least those who have the opportunity to have a family. According to data from INEGI, there are more than 7,000 businesses dedicated to animals in Mexico, which makes this financial sector move almost 2,600 million dollars a year.
Many businesses, both physical and digital, have been born under this business; And of course, many startups dedicated to it -Petsy, dedicated to the sale of products, could be one of them-. And yet, in Animal Sphere's opinion, this represents a great opportunity to change the status quo of the country:
“The establishments offer products and services, so it is convenient for them to have people who have dogs. The more people have them, the more they earn. They just have to help us raise awareness. "
The, now called, "perrhijos" have come to replace that need to have offspring in the population of Mexico. It already happened in the United States and Europe in a similar way a few years ago, since families, or people who live alone, no longer have the moral obligation to raise a child but the need to have the company of a pet. Pampered and pampered ad nauseam, they enjoy the luxuries of the wealthiest humans.
However, with a system in which thousands of dogs are euthanized every day for homelessness, it is very hard to see how class differences between humans are reflected in pets. This is where the work of Animal Sphere comes in again - which replaces the famous “a dog has been lost” sign with a platform that helps to identify lost animals in a more efficient way. They know that there is a problem with the exaggerated humanization of pets, but from the community created on their platform they want to raise awareness among the owners of the animals; "You have to set the limits well," says Mariana.
The illegal breeding of animals, as well as the abuses of some shelters, is one of the biggest pending tasks, so the idea of pampering a pet is not at all negative, but in an environment in which there are such problems at least issues such as the choice of breeds or breeding of species should be controlled.
The choice of pets, as in any place, is made based on aesthetics or fashions, such a color, such a breed, such a pedigree ... Many abandoned animals lack opportunities and the majority of adoptions -90% are made of informally - so managing these issues is a very complex process.
There are already many pro-animal organizations that have denounced the existence of illegal animal farms, known as backyard farms, in which people without the licenses and sanitation measures required by law cross and breed breeds and then sell the puppies to a high starting price.
This is where two important points come together: the indiscriminate sale of companion animals, driven by fashions or whims of the possible owners, and the lack of responsibility on the part of these are the most important causes to have the current situation in the country.
However, some projects seek to bring together pet lovers and solve the problem of overcrowding. Like Animal Sphere, there are other startups made in Mexico that want to use the community of pet lovers as a reference.
Animal Vitae also takes advantage of that network; If pet owners can use technology to monitor pet health, it may help other people to do the same and reduce those dramatic numbers. As well as helping veterinarians have all the data available for pets; At the moment only applicable to the state of Puebla, VETech is a platform that will have the registry of all pets in the region, including their medical records on a platform. Also add necklaces with NFC technology.
The standardization of regulations for reception establishments is a pending task for administrations Adopt abandoned dogs, sterilize pets - governments have initiated mandatory sterilization processes for all pets - and start a campaign against shelters that have been going on for years. fostering excess population by buying or obtaining puppies, to the detriment of adult animals, have been some of the flags that many of these organizations have defended.
But not against the shelters themselves, but against the lack of standardization of their resources. You cannot raise awareness of the adoption of pets if the animals that are there are in terrible condition. “Many of them believe that by taking in dogs they are already doing something good, but that is not the case. You have to meet minimum standards of quality and health ”, says Mariana.
As well as improving public medical care facilities for pets. There are only two centers in Mexico City, which compared to the number of stray dogs that there are seems totally insufficient.