Concerns are being raised over the activities taking place in the Wyre Forest Glades Leisure Centre in Kidderminster this Sunday – 29th July 2012. A planned reptile and amphibian fair is to take place in direct contravention of legislation that prevents pets from being sold at market stalls.
The trading of pets at market stalls was banned in 1983 and since then pet fairs have slowly been eradicated and local councils whose job it is to police the ban tend to refuse bookings for pet fairs on council property.
Wyre Forest District Council though according to the Animal Protection Agency (APA) have decided not to follow suit and ban reptile and amphibian fairs and sales on their property. The next one at the leisure centre is due to take place this Sunday.
When challenged about the proposed reptile fair the council said that selling animals as pets at the event was legal because it involved ‘private members’ attending a club meeting. They also claim that because the people selling the reptiles and amphibians were ‘hobbyists’ and not registered pet traders they were allowed to sell to the public at the market. One of the reptile sellers known to trade at the Kidderminster reptile fair is currently awaiting trial for illegally selling reptiles at another market.
Elaine Toland, Director of the Animal Protection Agency said, “Wyre Forest Council has received woefully poor legal advice on the status of exotic pet markets – if they have actually sought any advice at all. This has not only led their failure to enforce the law, but – as landlord of the venue – they are directly facilitating illegal trading! Worse still, the advice that the Council has issued will actually lead people to break the law. As a result of the Council’s incompetence, Kidderminster is fast becoming a haven for illegal wildlife dealers.”
The APA are submitting a formal complaint to the Wyre Forest District Council for holding the fair and will be asking for additional information about the day using a Freedom of Information request after the council informed the group that they will no longer be responding to their correspondence.
One of the problems with the view of the council is that by allowing ‘hobbyists’ to buy and sell reptiles at the centre is that they are allowing a route into the UK for illegally wild caught reptiles and amphibians. Those that the council are permitting to sell at the market will be unlicensed - and unregulated - pet dealers. As such those selling at the market will not need to have to demonstrate the source or sustainability of their supply. An ideal opportunity for wildlife criminals to infiltrate the UK pet market with illegally poached animals.
The trade in reptiles and amphibians really should be undertaken only by registered pet dealers and registered locations so that sustainability of supply can be monitored effectively. As such please sign our email petition to Councillor John-Paul Campion who is leader of Wyre Forest District Council.