Reptile Trade Views – June 2022
FBH PUBLISHES ENCLOSURE-SIZES STANDARDS
One of the main topics of debate surrounding reptile-keeping at the moment is enclosure sizes. The Federation of British Herpetologists (FBH) has published its recommended minimum standards guidelines for reptile enclosures, covering the vast majority of genera and species kept in captivity. The document underpins the Good Practice Guidelines for the welfare of privately-kept reptiles in the UK but it does not apply to commercial activities, which are regulated by licensing.
The most contentious part of the new guidelines pertain to rack and tray enclosure systems, which are sometimes used by snake breeders. The new guidelines recommend that where the size of the tray does not satisfy the minimum dimensions recommended and severely restricts the snake’s movement, that these enclosures should only be used for a temporary three-month duration. While some breeders are concerned that the enclosures they use could fall foul of this aspect of the guidance, many are welcoming the new recommendations as a step in the right direction for enrichment and welfare.
Enclosure sizes are currently a primary focus among animal rights campaigners and legislators, so it makes sense for the hobby and the trade to lead the way in this field of herpetoculture. While there will never be consensus across the whole spectrum of ideological viewpoints, the FBH guidance seeks to define a sensible middle ground. It is worth noting that the document does not say that good welfare cannot be achievable in smaller enclosures, or that a keeper must use larger enclosures. Rather it presents examples of housing sizes that private keepers can aim for so that they are confident of providing good levels of welfare.
The new guidance will be updated regularly. The FBH will be monitoring and evaluating new evidence as it becomes available and will continue consulting with other groups and private keepers to include more detailed considerations in the document. For more information, visit www.thefbh.org.
OBITUARY – EDDIE MUNT, EMSWORTH AQUATICS
I was sad to hear that Eddie Munt, one of the pioneers of the reptile pet trade, died recently. Eddie was one of the first people to predict the trend for reptile morphs and started his royal python breeding programme in 2003, producing some of the UK’s first spectacular morphs. He was also instrumental in the formation of the Reptile and Exotic Pet Trade Association (REPTA). Sadly, Eddie suffered a protracted period of ill-health following a stroke. He will be sorely missed.
And finally, congratulations to Dan and Danielle Burgess on their wedding in May. The importance of their work at the National Centre for Reptile Welfare (NRCW) cannot be overstated. While Chris Newman might be the ‘face’ of NCRW, I’m sure he’d agree that his work would be impossible without the effort and dedication displayed by Dan and Danielle.