Whitelists on the horizon
Once again, we don’t need to look too far to see how unfair legislation could easily harm the interests of reptile keepers and traders. New amendments to the Lacey Act being proposed in the USA aim to ban all newly imported species unless it can be proven that they represent no invasive risk. This is essentially a ‘whitelist’ that bans any species not on a pre-determined list, as opposed to a blacklist, which bans only those species which are proven to be invasive and harmful.
In the words of EUARK’s chairperson, Chris Newman, “Don’t dismiss this because it’s the States – it’s happening here in the UK rights now. Whitelists, or as they are more commonly known here in the UK and Europe, ‘positive lists’, are the single biggest threat to animal keepers and businesses we have ever faced.”
The concept of a positive list has become the holy grail of the animal rights movement who essentially believe that humans and animals should be segregated. In the UK the Scottish government is currently considering implementing a positive list. Public consultations have already taken place and Defra has indicated that if the Scottish government decides to implement such a list, then England and almost certainly Wales would follow suit.
Mark Amey retires – sort of…
It was quite a surprise to hear that Mark Amey is semi-retiring, given that he and I started in the trade at around the same time. Mark and his specialist reptile store Ameyzoo have been a big name in the reptile world for decades and, if I remember correctly, Mark was one of the first store owners to hold a zoology degree.
While Mark is retiring from Ameyzoo he’ll be continuing with his work supplying animals for TV and film projects. We wish you all the best Mark. And remember, you’re supposed to be taking it easy!
What’s happening with the RSPCA
National Centre for Reptile Welfare has often received referrals from the RSPCA, mainly taking in and rehoming unpopular species with no resale value, such as turtles and boa constrictors. In 2021 the NCRW took in well over 100 animals referred from the RSPCA.
Then, late last year, referrals from the RSPCA suddenly stopped. The situation was highlighted when the NCRW was contacted by the executor of a will belonging to a turtle owner. The executors had approached the RSPCA hoping to rehome the turtle in accordance with the wishes of the deceased. Instead of referring them to the NCRW as they had in the past, the RSPCA told the executors that the turtle could not be rehomed due to invasive species laws, and that their only option was to allow the RSPCA to euthanize the animal.
Thankfully the executors were determined to find another solution for Tirpitz, the yellow-bellied slider who was apparently named after a German warship. Upon finding a receipt for turtle food, they called the pet store who put them in touch with the NCRW. The turtle was subsequently rehomed and will live out the rest of its life at the NCRW.
I can’t for the life of me understand why the RSPCA would decide to act like this. Has there been a change in policy since last year? If so, it flies in the face of a statement by the RSPCA’s new chief executive Chris Sherwood, who said that “We recognise that we need to work in partnership with others.” I’d say this is a great opportunity to do just that, because if they don’t, many turtles will potentially be euthanized unnecessarily.