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ANIMAL GROUPS SLAM LOCAL REPTILE EXHIBITION
Posted 30 April 2003
Gloucester City Council, which allowed a reptile exhibition on Gloucester Docks over the Easter bank holiday, has met with severe criticism from animal protection groups and their scientific advisors. Animal Aid and the Captive Animals' Protection Society have concluded that, in the interests of animal welfare and public health, the event should not have been permitted.
Both groups visited the event and described provisions for the animals as inadequate and measures to safeguard public health as grossly deficient. Evidence was presented to The BioVeterinary Group (BVG) - an independent consultancy with specialists in reptile welfare and conservation and exotic animal zoonoses. The BVG advised that 'no cage was adequate for the provision of reptilian behavioural needs' and went further to state that the basic enclosures even took many zoo practices back decades.
Although attempts were made by the organisers to protect public health, the BVG described these measures as 'naïve'. The risks to the public from reptile-related salmonellosis were compounded by the reptile-handling sessions. Animal Aid filmed adults and, sometimes, very young children touching the animals but then not being offered the disinfectant spray, which would anyway have provided them with only minimal protection.
Animal Aid has made their scientific report available to the Council and has vowed to oppose potential plans for a reptile zoo every step of the way. Says Elaine Toland of Animal Aid:
"There was no mistaking the fact that the tiny animal enclosures had been designed by clueless, amateur pet keepers. With no proper provision to hide, bathe or climb, these animals were showing clear signs of stress. In the interests of animal welfare we strongly advise the organisers to shelve their plans for running a reptile zoo given that they lack an appropriate knowledge of reptile husbandry."
Notes to Editors
- For more information contact Elaine Toland on 01732 364546.
- We have an ISDN line for broadcast-quality interviews.
- For further background see our reptile campaign index.