Animal Aid

Organisations join forces to fight exotic pet fairs

Posted 25 August 2004
Birds on sale at Britain's largest bird market

Government urged to drop controversial proposal from Animal Welfare Bill

The UK's leading animal protection and environmental organisations are calling on the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to remove a controversial proposal from the draft Animal Welfare Bill which would legalise pet fairs and markets - currently prohibited under the Pet Animals Act, 1951/83.

In a statement sent today to the Select Committee scrutinising the Bill, the campaigners denounced plans to legalise these events which, if passed into law, would lead to an increase in the trafficking of wild-caught and endangered species, increased opportunities for the release of non-native species into the British environment and would massively weaken current animal welfare regulations governing the sale of animals as pets.

Lizards and snakes in tiny plastic takeaway cartons, exotic birds crammed inside cages too small to stretch their wings and overcrowded ornamental fish are common features of pet fairs - with many of the animals on sale captured from the wild. Appalling animal welfare violations led to the banning of pet fairs in 1983, and the near abolition of these events in Britain. The government now plans to lift this ban under the Animal Welfare Bill, allowing all forms of pet animal sales - including fairs and markets.

Reptiles on sale in plastic containers

The groups voicing their opposition to the legalisation of pet fairs include animal welfare, conservation and environmental organisations, as well as animal sanctuaries and veterinarians who often have to rescue these animals when they are no longer wanted.

We, the undersigned, urge the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to uphold and strengthen the current legislation prohibiting the sale of animals as pets at fairs and markets. We believe the proposal to legalise these events as part of the new Animal Welfare Bill would lead to an increase in the trafficking of wild-caught and endangered species, increased opportunities for the release of non-native species into the British environment and would massively weaken current animal welfare regulations governing the sale of animals as pets. We call on DEFRA to remove this proposal from the Animal Welfare Bill.

  • Animal Aid
  • Animal Protection Agency
  • Captive Animals Protection Society
  • BirdsFirst
  • Jane Goodall Institute
  • Born Free Foundation
  • World Society for the Protection of Animals
  • The Green Party
  • Advocates for Animals
  • New Life Parrot Rescue
  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
  • Foster Parrots
  • Care for the Wild
  • World Parrot Trust
  • National Animal Sanctuary Alliance
  • The Angry Parrot
  • BioVeterinary Group
  • VIVA!
  • Neil A Forbes, FRCVS, Avian Specialist
  • Wood Green Animal Shelter
  • Secret World Wildlife Rescue
  • Brazilian Network to Fight the Trafficking of Wild Animals

Click here for the case against the legalisation of pet fairs >>

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