The trading of exotic pets in the EU is a problem that often remains under the radar. In addition, the size of the problem remains unclear: how many exotic pets are there in the EU? And what is the general level of welfare of these exotic pets? Sapience was contacted by Eurogroup for Animals (EFA), an impact-based NGO from Brussels, to paint a clearer picture on this topic, as a step towards better EU policy making.
At Sapience, we use a variety of research methods to delve into real behavior and go beyond claimed (or reported) behavior. In this case, we combined several approaches:
- desk research to get a view on the size of the problem in different EU member states
- interviews with key stakeholders, such as veterinarians working with exotic animals
- mystery shopping interactions with online sellers of exotic pets, where Sapience took on the role of a potential buyer
Through this study, we increased our knowledge on this important topic:
✅ Size of the problem: the EU is home to millions of exotic pets and veterinary centers treat thousands of exotics pets each year.
✅ Quality of animal welfare: most animal pathologies are linked to poor husbandry. In addition the quality of husbandry is quite variable: most pet owners have very little knowledge concerning pet care and nutrition, while some have more knowledge than a veterinarian. We also found that online pet traders show limited consideration for animal welfare.
✅ Identify knowledge gaps: although our research is an important step, we found that there still exists a lack of systematic data on several fronts, such as intra-EU trade, husbandry quality and exotic animal import in the EU.
Given the incredible pace at which the research was conducted, Sapience's enormous flexibility regarding the aims and objectives of the research, the input of ideas and the way our feedback was incorporated into the report, I am extremely satisfied with the results. You will be top of the list for future research opportunities.
Nicholas (Eurogroup for Animals)
In addition, Sapience’s co-founder Davide Rigoni was invited to present the key findings of our study in the European Parliament and the research was published in relevant media like EFA and Vier Pfoten.
Link with our mission
At Sapience, we feel that this type of market research is very important, as it ties directly to our mission of impacting society and business through behavioral science.
We look forward to doing more impact-based research in the future.