Is Kidderminster a hub for illegal wildlife trading?

Is Kidderminster a hub for illegal wildlife trading?
tokay ghecko

tokay ghecko (credit: afternoon)

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.

[emailpetition id="2"]

External sites:

Animal Protection Agency.

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35 thoughts on “Is Kidderminster a hub for illegal wildlife trading?

  1. ” As a literature researcher (that’s my job!) I do make a habit of looking things up fairly well (I hope!) ”

    Jane E
    Please stop calling Kevin ( Keith ) it’s getting confusing.
    Kevin I can see you run an amazing project here, great website and love the work you do.
    The reason this has got a little heated is due to the long battle and bad feeling between pet keepers and animal rights, pet / hobbists wanting to keep and breed their animals v animals rights who think that keeping an animal as a pet is cruel.
    Pet keepers / hobbists love animals as a whole, many againest wild caught animals being kept as pets, but do not see captive bred reptiles as wild anymore, bred in captivity for over 40 years how can they be ? you have talked about how you respect experience over anything else, I have that 40 years experience in keeping reptiles as do many others in the hobby, not as a business, but a hobbist, I sell a few hatchlings to other hobbists that goes towards food and the keeping of my animals and really can see a problem with that.
    You will find that most reptile keepers have a big interest in wildlife, not as pets, but their Survival.

  2. Dear Jane,

    Your rhetoric is admirable, however, you have neglected to address the key point that the Stafford Bird Show continues unhindered. Your apparent suggestion that perhaps the council cannot afford a prosecution is hardy credible.

  3. Hi Keith

    Yes, I hear you. However, Mr Newman has already shown that he doesn’t know his subject eg. he got the Judicial Review wrong. But the broader point I make is that people expect a certain standard before they can trust what is being said or done. Eg. would you have root canal surgery done by a cab driver who is interested in teeth or your dog spayed by someone who keeps and sells dogs, but is not a vet? It’s a matter of professionalism and society insists on people being tested and verified to offer a minimum safe standard on advice and practice. Mr Newman clearly does not have such verification and is therefore not in a good position to criticise others.

    Chris

  4. Hi again Keith and Chris N

    I think it must now be unequivocally clear to all readers that despite me asking several times for Chris Newman to provide the wording in the Judicial Review that he claimed refers to the legal selling of animals as pets at pet fairs/markets, he has completely and utterly failed! I can only presume that he misread the Ruling or misunderstood the legal speak – at best! So, his claim has now firmly been laid to rest!

    But rather than admit he was wrong about the Judicial Review, he now diverts the issue two ways (one of which is very revealing):

    First, he NOW says “…as you are suggesting that my interpretation of the JR is incorrect…”. ‘His interpretation’! He should have stuck with that and only that from the start, rather than claim as he did that the Ruling itself stated it. And as a non-lawyer and (as he further reveals in his recent post) he has no relevant formal qualifications at all, we could from the start have simply acknowledged he has a view of his own and left it at that.

    Second, he asks why I think (like it should really matter what I think!) that Stafford Borough Council is still experiencing events that the Ruling applied to? Like Chris Newman, I am no expert on law – so I make clear right now that (for what it’s worth!) I would GUESS that like many councils they might be very reluctant to undertake potentially expensive prosecutions at a time of great belt-tightening. The courtroom is a famously ‘unpredictable’ place and no matter how confident a side is of winning, cases can go either way. I guess the council might weigh up these things. Another possibility might be that perhaps the council has its own view on the Ruling and they are waiting for other councils to take up a prosecution job which would solve the matter for them too. In short, there could be many reasons, but none of this alters the fact that Chris Newman could not deliver on his claims.

    As for the ‘repeal’ issue: Chris Newman is (a bit like his referencing the Judicial Review) getting my wording wrong. Mr Newman says”

    “I am somewhat surprise that you are oblivious to the repeal of Section 2 of the Pet Animals Act 1951 under the Animal Welfare Act, 2000. Nevertheless it is factually correct, you can confirm this for yourself by looking at the legislation: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/45/contents Section 65 repeals, you will note Sections 2 & 3 repealed.”

    I did NOT say I was ‘oblivious’ to it! What I ACTUALLY said was that I was ‘not very familiar’ with it and “…from asking around it seems that the reason Section 2 has not been discarded is because it awaits a replacement that does the same thing, only as part of the Animal Welfare Act.”

    If this still remains unclear, then the point I was making is it seems that Section 2 has not been DISCARDED (it is marked for repeal, not discarded) because there is as yet no replacement that does the same thing – ie bans selling animals at markets, so it stays there until another ban takes over.

    But I end on emphasizing that there is no point asking me for an important legal opinion on these things because, like Mr Newman, I am in no proper position to offer any substantial advice.

    Jane E

  5. Dear Chris

    Thanks for clarifying your background, which I read with interest. It’s clear that you are manifestly dedicated to your hobby. As much as that may seem authoritative to you, and to some readers, you have confirmed that you are untrained and unqualified and therefore unrecognised by any formal academic or professional institutions. That makes you a layperson, which I appreciate you don’t deny.

    With respect, the gulf between a layperson’s opinion and that of qualified legal, veterinary and scientific experts is vast. It also seems your hobby is largely dependent on you to represent them (I note you run two hobby and animal trade organisations). This means that they are dependent on an unqualified spokesperson, and it worries me that you seek to criticise from a very weak platform.

    I think it would have been helpful, at the outset of this discussion, if you had made your limitations more apparent.

    Chris

    • Hi

      I don’t think you can put too much into qualifications, experience can be much more useful. I’ve lost count of the time that I’ve been in the field with ‘qualified’ environmental consultants who could not tell the difference between a aspen tree or a birch tree.

      Sometime experience is much more important than paper qualifications.

      Kevin

  6. Hi Kevin

    Details may not be able to be reported but im sure a name would not be an issue. Is there any chance you could check that claim with the APA and ask for a name or more details?

    If no details can be provided it brings the validity of the whole article into question.

    Regards
    Dave

  7. Dear David,

    As Kevin in unable to address your question I thought I would endeavour to do so. No one is currently awaiting trial – that is pure fabrication on the part of the APA, or in other words an entirely disingenuous statement made purely to generate media attention.

    The truth of the matter is a hobbyist has been asked by the relevant Local Authority to voluntarily give an interview to answer some questions relating to his hobby. Incidentally the hobbyist concerned is not exhibiting at the show today that is another fabrication by the APA.

  8. Hi Kevin

    Do you have any more information regarding the trader allegedly being prosecuted for selling illegally at another 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.”

    Regards
    Dave

    • Hi David,

      I don’t have details, it was part of the press release issued by APA. If I did have the details I would not be able to publish them anyway because a court case is pending and I believe that means very little details are allowed to be published until after the case has been completed.

      Kevin

  9. Dear Jane,

    I am pleased that we are both referring to the same Juridical Review. You suggest that my interpretation is wrong? I therefore would be very grateful if you could address this point.

    The case: Haynes v Stafford Borough Council, case No: CO/7427/2005 was taken in respect of licensing the Stafford Bird Show under the Pet Animals Act 1951, the claim being it breeched Section 2 of the aforementioned Act.

    The judgment indeed confirmed that licensing such events breached Section 2, a surprise to everyone’s not least of all governments’ legal advisors at the time. Nevertheless that was the conclusion so the event, and other such events, could not be licensed under the Pet Animals Act as the law stood at that time.

    However, the event continues to this day, run twice a year and expanding substantially each year. Now, as you are suggesting that my interpretation of the JR is incorrect and it did not clarify that such events are lawful to run without a licence perhaps you could explain to me how the event continues to run?

    I am somewhat surprise that you are oblivious to the repeal of Section 2 of the Pet Animals Act 1951 under the Animal Welfare Act, 2006. Nevertheless it is factually correct, you can confirm this for yourself by looking at the legislation: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/45/contents Section 65 repeals, you will note Sections 2 & 3 repealed.

  10. Dear Chris,

    If you are interested to know more about my background here is a link which provides the relevant information: http://www.rexano.org/ChrisNewman.pdf In addition I have recently been elected on to the Pet Advertising Advisory Group: http://paag.org.uk/ PAAG was formed in 2001 and is its objective is to better regulate the advertising of pets for sale.

    I do not claim to be an ‘expert’, in my view people who claim to be experts seldom are! I would suggest that I am well informed on the issue of pet fairs/breeders meetings. I chaired the Defra Working Group on the aforementioned between 2004 and 2006 under the Animal Welfare Bill, now Act. I have been involved with this particular issue since 1995.

    In terms of legal opinions, I do not nor have I ever claimed to be legally qualified, I rely on legally qualified personnel to guide me on that issue. Under the Defra Working Group we were privileged to have the expertise of one of the counties leading experts on animal welfare law, professor of law from Aberdeen University.

    My interest is better and more effective regulation. It is very clear, despite the protestations of some here, that breeders meetings are lawful. There is an ambiguity still in the legislation and this will be addressed when government finally reads the Commencement Order repealing Section 2 of the Pet Animals Act, 1951. This will then allow Local Authorities to licence such events thus regulate them.

    Until such time these events will continue without formal regulation, they are self regulated and to a very high standards, but most people would prefer formal regulation?

  11. Hi Keith, All

    I’m not going to get embroiled in everybody’s views so I have just a few points. Mr Newman asks some questions and, if I may, I’d like to answer them rather than leave them ‘open’.

    As a literature researcher (that’s my job!) I do make a habit of looking things up fairly well (I hope!) so I can confirm to Mr Newman that I am indeed referring to the same Judicial Review: Haynes V Stafford BC case that he cited.

    Mr Newman has fundamentally based his argument about the ‘legality’ of selling animals at pet fairs on his claim that : “…it is lawful, this point has been clarified by the Judicial Review.”

    Readers may recall that I asked Mr Newman a very specific question, I asked Mr Newman: “would YOU please be more specific yourself and directly quote the section in the Judicial Review that you THINK states that hobbyists can legally sell at reptile fairs?”

    It’s a very simple question, I’ve read the Judicial Review and I cannot find the ‘fact’ he claim in there anywhere. Instead of providing the answer he merely makes more claims about what he says the JR said.

    I asked him for the JR quote then, and I’m asking him for it now – please copy the wording here where the Judge said that ‘hobbyists’ selling pets at markets/pet fairs is legal?

    As to Mr Newman’s qualifications, I’m not sure how merely being on a committee makes anyone an expert – most committees I’ve heard of have a lot of lay-people on them. Looking up Mr Newman’s background on the net says the same thing – no qualifications and I think most reasonable people would want an ‘expert’ to be formally qualified. Similarly, my comment about him not being a lawyer, was based on finding no reference as a lawyer and that his legal argument (and that’s all he has) appears very wrong compared to the actual legal evidence. How can I say that?

    For example, notwithstanding his wholesale failure to provide the evidence requested above, he then went on to say: “As a result of the JR [which was a spectacularly own goal for the instigators] was that it clarified that such events could not be licensed under the Pet Animals Act because of Section 2 of the aforementioned Act. However, it also clarified that breeders meetings where hobbyist disposed of surplus stock were perfectly legal…”

    ‘Spectacular own goal??? This is how the Judicial Review finding was reported in the professional legal journal dealing with animal law:

    ‘Animal welfare victory on pet fairs law: the decision in R (Haynes) v Stafford Borough Council.

    “On 14 June 2006, in a judgment that will be of considerable interest to local authorities and environmental and animal welfare groups, the High Court ruled that the Pet Animals Act 1951 bans the selling of animals as pets at markets and fairs.”’

    http://www.alaw.org.uk/journal/ALAWJournalissue4.pdf

    Strange ‘own goal’ indeed! I would suggest people get their information from properly qualified legal sources rather than non-lawyers who may have vested interests in animal dealing.

    I’m not very familiar with the matter of the ‘repeal of the Section 2 that bans selling pets at markets’ that Mr Newman talks about, but from asking around it seems that the reason Section 2 has not been discarded is because it awaits a replacement that does the same thing, only as part of the Animal Welfare Act.

    As for the ASA – no sour grapes on my part, and Mr N’s comment seems rather silly. I merely pointed out the fact that he thought it somehow uncomplimentary for an animal welfare group to use the word ‘Agency’ when he praised the ASA which is not actually a listed authority at all (go read that part of their site) but a business that makes money out of making adjudications on the advertising codes they write.

    Re the prosecution, I’m glad Mr Newman would welcome it – I guess people will just have to wait and see! In the meantime, I again await that direct quote from the Judicial Review that Chris Newman keeps referring to.

    Jane E

  12. Hi Keith

    Hmm, this makes interesting reading! I do get the impression that Chris Newman is setting himself up as an expert who has some solid background that allows him to be so ‘sure’ and so critical of others. However, he hasn’t said whether he holds any true formal qualifications at all. He seems to be making points about law, animal welfare etc.
     
    Therefore, Mr Newman, forget sitting on committees (almost anyone can do that) and you’ve more or less said you are not a lawyer, so are you a vet or a scientist or some other holder university level-graduate qualification in a relevant subject – or are you someone who just keeps and promotes selling of animals?
     
    Even assuming Mr Newman is a layman, I am of course not saying he shouldn’t have an opinion. But there’s a massive difference between a layman’s untrained and unqualified view and the formal opinion of properly qualified people – that’s why we usually go into court with lawyers and use doctors for treatment not average Jo’s or snake oil!
     
    My question is important, because readers need to know whether they should or should not attach any weight to his statements.

    Chris

  13. Hi Kevin, my thoughts on your last post also:

    On a side note if breeders want to use shows to sell surplus stock perhaps they should review their breeding management strategy because they are obviously producing more individuals than they need. If they are breeding too many intentionally to sell then they are obviously not ‘hobbysts’ but commercial breeders and traders.

    Perhaps you are unaware of the hobbyists that have worked long and hard to succesfully keep and breed many reptiles that used to be ‘wild caught’ to enable this country (and other of course) to be relatively well sufficient in obtaining ‘captive bred’ stock instead of having to continue with wild caught stock. Consider how no pythons are allowed to be removed from Australia, yet as a captive bred species, they are very popular in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, as well as America.

    You may also wish to google how it was reptile hobbyists that obtained a few of what was considered for a long while to be extinct species of Crested Gecko in the 90′s and succesfully maintained and bred these in captivity so that they are now a firm favourite of many a hobbyist and petkeeper?

  14. Dear Jane, my thoughts below on some of your comments:

    I’ve also looked over the Animal Protection Agency’s site and, again contrary to Mr N – it manifestly is NOT a “fanatical Animal Rights” organisation but a science-based one.

    Hmmm …. wondering where you have done your research on the APA being a science based unit? When using Clifford Warwick and his often pseudo scientific ‘papers’ and qualifications they really do tend to shoot themselves in the foot. From what I have read, most of his ‘credentials’ appear to be unable to be verified by the institutions he supposedly received them from. However again, as I have only read this and it is other authors that have tried to obtain this verification, I cannot clearly evidence this.

    Back to selling animals at pet fairs: if Mr Newman was up to date, he’d know about the pending prosecution of hobbyists for selling at a recent pet fair. He can add that to his basic facts to note.

    I believe Mr. Newman is as up to date as it is possible to be on this issue, as he himself was party to the court action taken just prior to the June meeting in Doncaster, at which the APA failed to stir up the trouble they often try to cause just prior to such events. I am sure he must be aware of action taken following this. And from what I hear, he does regularly debate on such issues publicly, given the opportunity.

    Oh.. and just in case you missed another point that someone else made, APA supporters have been known to not only threaten the lives of council employees (as well as the animals and general public) where some of these events are to be held, they have also in the past, regularly threatened the lives of various people within the reptile hobby itself.

    Regards….. Jane

  15. Sorry Kevin I did not address your last point. According to the fanatics we import 6,000,000 reptiles a year into the UK, this is not true I hasten to add we actually import under 200,000. Notwithstanding that, would you prefer we import reptiles or breed them in the UK? Breeders meeting facilitate the supply of UK captive bred reptiles to satisfy the market. If breeders meeting are suppressed then imports, and that would include wild caught animals, would increase – is this something you would support? Currently 95%of reptiles sold in the UK are bred in captivity, do you advocate increasing the sale of wild caught animals? Personally I do not oppose this as sustainable utilisation is the cornerstone of conservation which is why it is supported by the likes of the WWF.

  16. Kevin,

    Thank you for the reply, much appreciated. I think you are possibly slightly confused about the issues. We would argue that such events should be licensed, if it is licensed it is then open not only to public security but also Local Authority security and law enforcement security. In other words Local Authorities have control and can set minim standards for welfare and the events as well as ensuring that no illegal trade, i.e. illegal animals are sold. In other words such events would be regulated. As it noe stands they are not.

    Such events use to be licensed under the Pet Animals Act 1951, however, Elaine and her colleges opposed licensing and made the argument that such events should not be licensed, why anyone in their right mind would argue that such events are not licence eludes me, nevertheless that was the argument and it hinged around the 1984 amendment, Section 2. It is very clear that Section 2 was aimed at stopping street markets such as Petty Coat Lane, Unfortunately, as is often the case the wording of the amendment was not as tight as it should have been and this allowed fanatics, like Elaine, to argue that it also applied to breeders meetings. The legal position was ambiguous, government’s position, as was many experts such as the advisor to the RSPCA, that it did not preclude such events be licensed. Nevertheless the debate raged for several years, government’s intention was to address the ambiguity and make it clear such events should be licensed.

    Dispute several Animal Rights organisations [business] raising significant funds on the campaign ultimate at the eleventh hours they fiddled a Judicial Review at tax payers expense [that’s how certain they were of their case]. The JR concluded, to everyone’s surprise [including the antis I’m sure] that such events could not be licensed as such a licence would breach Section 2 of the Act. In layman’s terms it did so because such events were held in a public place. Hence my question to you about why is a leisure centre a public place, but a shop on a high street not? I still do not understand the argument and would be very grateful to anyone who could offer a coherent explanation? The secondary argument was events were a concourse of buyers’ and sellers and therefore constituted a street market?

    When the Animal Welfare Act was finally published it set Section 2 of the Pet Animals Act for repeal, presumably so such events could be licensed in the future! I can only assume this is the reason unless someone else can offer a better explanation – Jane?

    My position is very clearly I think such events should be regulated, licensed. Licensing brings control and regulations, who in their right mind could argue against that?

  17. Dear Kevin,

    You appear to have neglected to respond to the point I raised, I am sure this is simply an oversight and I look forward to reading them in due course.

    • Hi

      I thought I had explained that I don’t have a problem with distinguisinh between a permanent shop that can be licensed and montiroed effectively for animal trading and a place that operate maybe a day or two and allows anyone to conduct animal trading with the public.

      With regard to breeders selling to each other then that is different but if this show is there to allow breeders to sell to each other then it should be closed to the public and only verified paid up memebers of recognised reptile groups should be admitted to the show. Attendees details should be recorded and any trade recorded so that authorites can check and monitor that all trade is legal.

      If the show is open to the public to enter and have a wander around than no trading should be permitted. It’s as simple as that.

      On a side note if breeders want to use shows to sell surplus stock perhaps they should review their breeding management strategy because they are obviously producing more individuals than they need. If they are breeding too many intentionally to sell then they are obviously not ‘hobbysts’ but commercial breeders and traders.

      Kevin

  18. Dear Jane,

    What an interesting interjection on your part. I’m not aware that I have claimed to be a lawyer? Perhaps you could refresh my memory as to where I made this clam! Personally I am quite content with my credentials and I do not feel the need to try and mislead people with spurious academic qualifications, I leave that to others.

    For the record I chaired the Defra Working Group that looked at the issue of what you would call Pet Fairs, but are more appropriately referred to as Breeders Meetings under the Animal Welfare Bill, now Act. The Judicial Review which I referred to is Haynes v Stafford Borough Council; perhaps you are not familiar with this?

    As a result of the JR [which was a spectacularly own goal for the instigators] was that it clarified that such events could not be licensed under the Pet Animals Act because of Section 2 of the aforementioned Act. However, it also clarified that breeders meetings where hobbyist disposed of surplus stock were perfectly legal, governments position not mine! As I am sure you are aware the Stafford event continues to this day and goes from strength to strength.

    The other issue, which perhaps you are oblivious to, is the fact as a result of the JR the Animal Welfare Act repealed Section 2 of the Pet Animals Act? True, as yet the Commencement Order which brining the repeal into effect has not been read, but now thanks to the recent activities of the APA this is now likely to change in the not to distant future.

    With regards to your allegation of a pending prosecution, I think it is you who is not up-to-date! I would very much welcome a Local Authority to endeavour such a prosecution as it would undoubtedly expedite the reading of the Commencement Order, regrettably this appears not to be the case so we shall have to leave the wheels of government to turn as slowly as they do.

    As regards to your comments concerning the Advertising Standards Authority slamming of the APA, I will simply disregard this as sour grapes. The ASA should be commended for the report they did, which took over eighteen months to prepare, and was a very fair and balanced report.

  19. APA are animal rights extremists bullys, who just like yourself think that animals should not be kept in a cage, I think you should be honest and just tell us you see all animals kept as pets are slaves and the goal here is to end pet keeping of any kind, true ?
    The ASA don’t have to be experts to research and find no truth or evidence in the APA claims and were found to be untruthful, which then also rules out they are a science based business.

    • thanks for your reply but your reply itself just shows how little you know about the arguments involved.

      Personally I’m not fussed one way or another about whether people keep animals as pets or not. Though I think dog owners who can not control their dogs should be put to sleep rather than the dogs themsleves.

      If you want to keep a pet then do so but buy them from reputable and licenced dealers and not one day pop-up shows that offer opportunites for un-sustainable supplies to enter the market.

      Kevin

      • Sorry Kevin, my last post wasn’t for you, it was a reply to Janes post.
        But I still say you are wrong, there is no better place to buy a reptile than at a show, the hall is full of the countrys leading experts in keeping reptiles and run by the best reptile clubs in the world.

  20. Dear Keith

    Your article is excellent, and in my view the complaints from your critics mark the predictable disgruntlement of people who keep or profit from the lives of animals locked in cages for their gatekeepers’ amusement.

    Incidentally, Mr Newman ….(edited by Wildlife News – name calling does not support an arguement)…. he has no important technical or moral place to allow him to comment on the facts or ethics of the matters of your article. He is also not a lawyer, which is highly evident from the fact that he can’t interpret a Judicial Review properly.

    Keith, you rightly (in fact you rather understate the issue) said: “The legality of buying and selling at reptile fairs by amateurs and hobbyists is questionable”!

    To which Mr Newman replied: “Perhaps you could be more specific because the legal situation is very clear – it is lawful, this point has been clarified by the Judicial Review.” So, Mr Newman would YOU please be more specific yourself and directly quote the section in the Judicial Review that you THINK states that hobbyists can legally sell at reptile fairs.

    While I await Mr Newman’s ‘quoted facts’ he also mentioned an ASA adjudication against the Animal Protection Agency – which I have now looked up. Mr N seems to have overlooked a couple of things here too. 1. the ASA are not experts on animals and conservation, they merely look at their own business codes, and 2. (and this is gonna hurt Mr Newman a bit) while he tried to make a big thing that: “The Animal Protection Agency IS NOT a formal government agency”, yet again he has failed to examine the facts (even the ‘basic facts’ that he says he likes) so, wait for – yes the Advertising Standards Authority’ is also NOT a government agency but a COMPANY, yes a BUSINESS!

    I’ve also looked over the Animal Protection Agency’s site and, again contrary to Mr N – it manifestly is NOT a “fanatical Animal Rights” organisation but a science-based one.

    Back to selling animals at pet fairs: if Mr Newman was up to date, he’d know about the pending prosecution of hobbyists for selling at a recent pet fair. He can add that to his basic facts to note.

    Regards, Jane

  21. Sorry Kevin you are incorrect, these shows are run by reptile clubs that have a full members list of anyone selling at the show, it is not possible for just anybody to walk in and sell reptile, anyone trying would be banned.
    It is disrespectful to all the reptile clubs over the UK to say such things, they are well organised by very experienced people in the welfare of these captive bred animals.

    • Hi

      I’ve just found out that paying members of the public that go to the Kidderminster show will automatically be enrolled as a member of the local reptile group to make them hobbyisits and so allowed to trade.

      There will be no checks on their background or suitablility to trade and no checks on where they source any reptile from if they decide to sell or buy at the show.

      If that is true then I can only hope that if something untoward did happen then both the local council and leisure centre management will both be prosecuted for failing to undertake due dilligence. It’s obvious that this automatic enrollment is only there to allow anybody to buy and sell at the show and to get around the law.

      Kevin

  22. Kevin,

    You say the “The legality of buying and selling at reptile fairs by amateurs and hobbyists is questionable”! Perhaps you could be more specific because the legal situation is very clear – it is lawful, this point has been clarified by the Judicial Review. So there is no ambiguity in the law in terms of amateurs/hobbyists disposing of surplus stock they have bred.

    On the point about licensing, perhaps you are not aware that in fact we have been auguring for licensing for years, its fanatics like the APA that have opposed licensing! On this point perhaps you have an opinion on why a “leisure Center” is a public place and therefore cannot be licensed under the current legislation, however, a shop on a high street is not a ‘public place’ and can be licensed?

    • For me the difference between a market stall in a leisure centre and a shop on the High Street is very clear.

      Transient traders are much more likely to be found at a stall that may be around for 1 or 2 days than at a strationary shop.

      It’s much easier to trace an unscrupulous reptile dealer that has a permanment base than one that turns up at a leisure centre and unloads his or her stock from the back of a van.

      Kevin

      • Then I would be very grateful if you could explain to me the difference because I am completely oblivious in terms of a legal definition. Both are buildings to which the public may enter? Your reasoning in terms of what you define as “Transient traders” is illogical and irrelevant in terms of licensing.

        Such events have been running in the UK for over 30 years, not a single shred of evidence is available to support your suggestion they could facilitate “illegal trade” indeed such a suggestion is deeply floored as such events are open for public scrutiny, as well as scrutiny from law enforcement agency.

  23. The APA seems to be out to ban all kinds of pets, not just these reptiles. The APA has shown time and time again, by the incorrect informaton they publish on their web site, that they can not be trusted and will lie to make their point look valid.
    It’s a shame that an organisation that people think is out to do good could do so much harm.

  24. Congratulations to Kevin Heath for falling for yet another APA scam designed to damage the reputation of a perfectly legal, ethical and enjoyable show.

    Your have succesfully stripped yourself of all credibility by publishing an article full of false information you have recieved from an organisation that is profiteering from deception

    • If it’s so legal, ethical and enjoyable, why are you hiding behind anonymity?

      The legality of buying and selling at reptile fairs by amateurs and hobbyists is questionable. Trade in exotic species needs to be highly regulated and controlled by only selling through registered pet traders at licensed properties.

      Selling reptiles at a stall in a leisure centre is no different to selling reptiles at any other place that allows the general public to enter and that means it’s unlawful. The only way round the law is to try and claim that the selling is only part-time and small and does not equate to a legimate trade or profession. It’s this sort of unregulated and unlicensed marketplace that allows opportunites for wild caught animals to be laundered into the legitmate market.

      Kevin

  25. Some basic facts:

    Reptile shows where private keepers meet to dispose of surplus stock bred by themselves is perfectly legal. To suggest they are a hub for illegal trade is completely disingenuous and not a shred of evidence has ever been produced to suggest otherwise. Indeed the revise is true as such events are open for inspection and in September 2010 the International Herpetological Society breeders meeting in Doncaster was inspected by wildlife officers as part of Operation RAMP – no illegal animals were found and the authorities commended the organisers for the was the event was organised and run.

    The Animal Protection Agency IS NOT a formal government agency; it is a fanatical Animal Rights business that exploits such issues for financial gain. For anyone interested in the truth about the APA and the campaigns they run then I would reefer you to the very recent adjudication by the Advertising Standards Agency that slammed the APA for dishonesty:-

    ASA Adjudication on Animal Protection Agency Ltd
    http://www.asa.org.uk/ASA-action/Adjudications/2012/5/Animal-Protection-Agency-Ltd/SHP_ADJ_136234.aspx

    The Animal Protection Agency has cost tax payers across the UK tens, is not hundreds of thousands of pounds, wasting public funds on forcing Local Authorities to investigate what is calls “illegal events” which are clearly not. It is high time this gratuitous waste of public money is halted!

    Chris Newman
    Chairmen – Federation of British Herpetologists

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