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SPAR apologises for spreading COVID-19 misinformation regarding pets

SPAR have apologised for their role in spreading misinformation regarding COVID-19 and its transmission.


Image via Adobe Stock

The SPAR Group issued an apology after several stores put up posters which suggested that domestic animals could spread the COVID-19 virus.

NSPCA hit out at false info on COVID-19

The posters drew the ire of the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) who have made it clear that there is no evidence to suggest that domestic animals, such as dogs and cats, can contract or pass on the COVID-19 virus.

An NSPCA statement issued this week warned South Africans against unnecessary contact with wild animals, but clearly stated that your pets will not pass the virus on to you.

 “It has come to the attention of the NSPCA that certain entities are spreading misinformation regarding animals and the COVID-19 virus,” the statement reads. 

“The NSPCA would like to assure the public there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted from domestic animals to humans.

“It is unclear whether or not this virus is transmittable from wild animals to humans. Therefore, we continue to strongly discourage interactions with wild animals – not only for ethical reasons, but now for health reasons too.

“It has come to light that mis­­information relating to the COVID-19 virus is being circulated implying that domestic animals are the source of transmission – this is simply not true.”

SPAR to make amends

The SPAR Group claimed that the information in the poster was obtained from international sources and issued an unreserved apology for spreading misinformation and causing alarm.

Animal shelters and anti-cruelty organisations have reported several calls from fearful animal owners wanting to hand their pets over for fear they may contract COVID-19 from their animals.

SPAR said they would endeavour to make amends for the harm they have caused.

“Dear SPAR customers and all animal lovers, the SPAR Group would like to unreservedly apologise for the incorrect posters that have been displayed in some of our stores,” a post from the official SPAR SA Facebook page read.

“In an effort to protect our customers and in the wake of the panic following the first COVID-19 announcement, we acted too hastily by adopting and translating communication from other countries dealing with the pandemic. They were factually incorrect.

“Animals have ‘no connection’ with the spreading of the COVID-19 virus.

“We have instructed all stores to immediately remove the misleading posters and replace them with the correct communication. Our most sincere apologies to all that have been affected.

“We will endeavour to make amends in whatever way we can to mitigate the damage we have caused.”

SPAR have since made a sizeable donation to the NSPCA.