News Reptile Meeting Stopped At Eleventh Hour

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Reptile meeting stopped at eleventh hour
25th October 2013



by Karen Pickwick

A reptile and amphibian show due to take place this Sunday (October 27) has been cancelled at the last minute by the venue, Fontwell Park Racecourse, in West Sussex, on advice from Arun District Council.

Although the event was billed as a ‘private breeders meeting’, the Animal Protection Agency claims it provided evidence to the council that it would constitute an animal market and that trading of animals there would be unlawful.

But Richard Brook, reptile show co-ordinator for the Federation of British Herpetologists, told pbwnews that the event had NOT been cancelled, just deferred.
“It is not a coincidence that this latest attack comes at a time when our legal expert is out of the country,” he said. FBH chairman Chris Newman is currently in Brussels taking part in EU discussions regarding pet-keeping in Europe.

“The reptile show at Fontwell Park hasn’t been cancelled; it has been postponed pending the now customary and tiresome legal justifications,” said Richard.
“Although the process is frustrating, we know that the law is on our side. Given our experiences to date we are confident that the venue and local authority will appreciate the show is beyond reproach, both morally and legally, and that the show will go ahead some time very soon.”

“We’ll need to go through the usual process of presenting facts and evidence to refute the flawed arguments touted by the animal rights extremists. It’s really quite a simple decision once the facts are heard.”

The Animal Protection Agency says it now fears that exotic pet market organisers may now, at the last minute, be searching for a new venue and is warning local venue managers against hosting the event.
 
APA has welcomed the ‘prompt and effective’ action taken by Arun District Council and Fontwell Park Racecourse to ‘thwart illegal trading in wild animals’.
 
It says it hopes other racecourse venues around the UK (Doncaster, Kempton Park and Chepstow) where ‘exotic pet markets’ have taken place will follow the example set by Fontwell Park. A reptile event is going ahead at Doncaster Racecourse on November 3, however.
 
Elaine Toland, director of the Animal Protection Agency, said: “Action taken by Arun District Council and Fontwell Park Racecourse means that thousands of animals have been potentially spared this ordeal, which is great news. We just hope now that the organisers don’t attempt to stage their event elsewhere.”

Writing on Facebook, Jon Kent, chairman of the Portsmouth Reptile & Amphibian Society, which was running the event, apologised to members for the inconvenience and said: “We will be organising a meeting with the council in the near future so we can go forward with our Private Breeders Meeting at a later date.”