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REDDITCH COUNCIL WINS PRAISE FROM ANIMAL GROUPS
Posted 25 February 2003
National animal protection groups, Animal Aid and the Captive Animals' Protection Society, are delighted that Redditch Council has voted against allowing the use of the Arrow Valley Social Club for future reptile fairs.
At a full Council meeting yesterday evening, Councillors voted to uphold the recommendation from their Executive Committee that the Council-owned property should not be hired out to animal dealers.
Last year, on 29 September, an undercover investigator from the Captive Animals' Protection Society (CAPS) visited a reptile fair at the Arrow Valley Social Club, which was organised by the International Herpetological Society (I.H.S.) - an amateur group of dealers and hobbyists who are behind this latest application. The CAPS' team acquired videotaped evidence backed up by literature gathered on the day, which demonstrated that illegal commercial trading took place. Animal Aid sent this information to Redditch Borough Council's Legal Department along with a list of commercial dealers who were present on the day, together with their contact details. Animal Aid were then, however, disappointed to receive a letter claiming that the Council had "insufficient evidence to commence criminal proceedings" as Council Officers were only present for approximately three hours.
Said Animal Aid spokesperson Elaine Toland:
"We commend the Council's decision. The outcome is obviously good news for the animals and regular users of the social club can breathe a sigh of relief. Even with the best intentions in the world, it's impossible to care for reptiles properly in captivity. According to US pet industry data, the majority of reptiles in captivity die within a year. In an artificial environment they also pose a significant risk to human health."
Animal Aid and CAPS are now concerned that the I.H.S. reptile group will now attempt to organise an underground fair, as they have before. Both groups appeal for any information particularly from venue managers in the area and urge them not to be coaxed into staging these types of events.