Observations to the Emotional Assistance Pet Act Petition 
from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Jackie Doyle-Price)

 

Response To Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Re: "... the Government would not seek to intervene in commercial decisions ..."

There must be some circumstances and reasons why the social fairness requires measures in legislative format and commercial services are not in any way exempt from it, otherwise why would we have the Consumer Rights Act, or why would the very Emotional Assistance Pet legislation have been introduced in the US already.

Following Hurricane Katrina, demand on drinking water opened the door for abuse in the so called commercial sector, so corrective legal actions were taken, and I think no one would dare to question it. Yet the response from the Government suggests that they are “washing their hands” of the very problem on the basis that it relates to the commercial sector.

 

Re: “Not all properties are equally suitable for families with pets”

Can you please ask the Representative of the Government who issued the Observation to clarify in what circumstances properties are classified as not suitable for families that include pets?

Also, how many of the properties currently on the market meet such criteria exactly (so are not suitable for families that include pets)?

Assuming that such factors are substantiated and not a simple “I will not sell you water because you are not my type” mechanism (subject to my question above) – before a “no pet” restriction is imposed, an additional licence should be required. A licence that in order to obtain, the service provider (Landlord) should be required to provide actual evidence of such restrictions.

Re: “… as for any business, it is reasonable for them to seek to reduce their risks.”

Landlords can easily protect themselves from most scenarios, including any irritation to the property of any origin by reference checking, security deposit and a good tenancy agreement, plus inspections run on a regular 3-4 monthly basis, as well as Landlord insurance.

There is no scientific research (actual data) to support the thesis that Tenants who have pets are worse, more difficult or cause more damage to properties, than those who do not.

In the twentieth century, so called "respectable" families in the US that employed Afro-American domestic help were socially required to have an outhouse lavatory for them, so as not to share the same bathroom facilities due to the risk of diseases they were allegedly spreading.

Similarly, the alleged higher risk of renting out a property to families that include pets (as pets are part of the family too) is simply unsubstantiated, so this is way beyond reasonable.

 

Re: “Legislation to enshrine the use of animals as therapy would be disproportionate, in regards to a relatively small area of health provision. “

There is compelling evidence from clinical and laboratory studies – based on University of Harvard publication - involving brain-imaging technologies – that prove that levels of neurohormones like oxytocin — which is involved in pair-bonding and maternal attachment — rise after interaction with pets. Thus, it proves that the human-animal emotional bond does not differ from the one that we sustain in relation to close family members i.e. our own children.

Additional evidence - based on NHS sources - states that being cut off from your family members is increasing the risk of depression, so being cut off from your pet is increasing the risk of depression.

Mental health problems constitute the largest single source of World economic burden, with an estimated global cost of £1.6 trillion - greater than cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer and diabetes on their own. In the UK, the estimated costs of mental health problems are £70-100 billion each year and account for 4.5% of GDP – according to data published by the Mental Health Foundation.

Also, according to the Mental Health Foundation research, major depression is thought to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide and a major contributor to the burden of suicide and ischemic heart disease.

It is known that more than 55,000 suicides occur in the European Union each year, including more than 6,000 in the UK and Ireland. The highest rates of suicide were associated with depressive disorders. One in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem in any given year. 

Therefore, I am very interested in what reasoning can possibly be presented to justify the above Governmental observation exactly.

Assuming that the Governmental observation does not suggest that depression is not a real disease, I would like to underline that opposing to introduce EAPA-like legislation to protect the most venerable against a “no pet” clause - the Government is responsible for the increase in risk of depression and for the increase in the likelihood of suicide.

So, to simplify, the lack of any human-pet relationship protection is a factor in developing depression, as we are emotionally bonding with our pets in the same way (scientifically proven), so forcing people to give up on their family members when they need all the help available to feel needed and to have some sense of purpose, is simply immoral.

So, to help people to fight with depression, we need EAPA-like legislation.

"Salford man killed himself in emergency accommodation because council wouldn't let him keep his pets"

src: Manchester Evening News

Re: “This is why we have given Clinical Commissioning Groups the freedom to commission innovative services where they meet the health needs of local populations.“

Mental health services in the UK are overstretched, have long waiting times and a lack of specialist services in some regions. Despite this, public spending is focused almost entirely on coping with crisis, with only a small investment in prevention.

So, the above governmental observation is rather upsetting to read, since it delegates the responsibility to NHS bodies, knowing that the NHS struggles and Mental Health Care is especially impacted by the status quo.

I would like to know what “innovative services” the governmental observations are referring to exactly. I would also like to find out how CCGs measure “the health needs of population” at this very moment, so to know what are mental health needs of local populations based on their reports at the current time, since the governmental response seems to be detached from the reality in terms of the size of the problem that EAPA-like legislation could address. 

Also, how the “CCG freedom” addresses the issue of the increased likelihood of suicide in the case where a “no pet” clause is cutting people off from their non-human family members. In my view it does not at all.

It is also logical to conclude that UK Tenants are a rather vast group and they are of higher risk of developing depression since money problems, relationship breakdowns, illness and older age are the factors of developing depression and they are the same factors that make people rent.

I simply cannot stop myself from reading the Governmental response as disregard towards the seriousness of depression and mental health problems, almost suggesting it is not “real disability”?

So, I would really like your input on this matter and I think that this initiative deserves Parliamentary debate.

 

 
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