Animal Aid

DIY CHAIN TOLD TO END HAZARDOUS REPTILE SALES

Posted 1 June 2000
Iguana

National pressure group Animal Aid have launched a campaign to highlight the health risks of keeping reptiles in captivity and are targeting Petworld - (located in Focus Do It All stores) - the last pet chain to sell reptiles. Demonstrations will take place across the country on June 2 and 3 outside dozens of the company's branches. More than 60 already contain in-store Petworlds.

The Department of Health recently re-issued a health warning, following the second infant death so far this year from contact with a salmonella-infected reptile. The health warning stated that children under five, pregnant women and the elderly should avoid all contact with reptiles. Animal Aid have attacked Focus Do It All's complacency on this issue. The pressure group claim that Focus Do It All's profit-driven activities and their attempt to create a 'family-atmosphere' are clearly jeopardising public health as well as animal welfare.

According to a new report, written by Animal Aid's reptile expert, Clifford Warwick:

"Captivity places tremendous stress on reptiles, and changes their natural microbiology in a way that increases illnesses in the animals... Because captive reptiles are prolific carriers of salmonella and other micro-organisms, they can be a major cause of disease in humans."

Nine out of ten captive reptiles are infected with salmonella. Therefore it is a strong possibility that a Focus Do It All member of staff, after cleaning out the reptile tanks, could transport the salmonella bacteria - lodged in his clothes, shoes or hair - around the store, shedding infectious material onto products as he goes. This bacteria can survive for up to three months on a surface, which means that an unsuspecting member of the public could then purchase a product and carry the health hazard straight into his or her home. Such a risk, according to Clifford Warwick, one of only two scientists in Europe specifically qualified in this area, is not theoretical but very real.

All over the country, demonstrators will be outside Focus Do It All stores, dressed in bio-hazard costumes, handing out gloves to members of the public entering the stores.

Andrew Tyler from Animal Aid says:

"Reptiles in the wild are essentially hardy creatures and present no risk to people but in captivity their own health rapidly declines and they can easily pass on disease to humans. It's time that Focus Do It All got out of this obscene, cruel and dangerous trade."

Focus Do It All Protests Protests will be taking place in the following areas during the days of action on June 2 and 3. Please contact us for details of times, local contacts etc. The list is still being added to, so please check the latest situation.

ABERDEENSHIRE Arbroath; AVON Bristol; BEDFORDSHIRE Bedford; BUCKINGHAMSHIRE High Wycombe; DYFED Pembroke Dock; HAMPSHIRE Waterlooville; HERTFORDSHIRE Stevenage; Borehamwood; HUMBERSIDE Scunthorpe; KENT Tunbridge Wells; Sevenoaks, Canterbury; West Wickham, Dartford; LANCASHIRE Blackburn, Wigan LINCOLNSHIRE Grimsby; LONDON Charlton, Merton; MERSEYSIDE Hunts Cross (Liverpool) Walton (Liverpool); NORFOLK Norwich, Kings Lynn NORTHAMPTONSHIRE Corby; NOTTINGHAMSHIRE Nottingham? RENFREWSHIRE Glasgow; SHROPSHIRE Telford; STAFFORDSHIRE Stafford; Burton Upon Trent; SUFFOLK Ipswich; SURREY Camberley; SUSSEX Crowborough, Eastbourne, Hastings, Hove? SWANSEA Swansea TYNE AND WEAR Washington, Sunderland; WEST MIDLANDS Stirchley (Birmingham) Halesowen, Dudley, Walsall; WILTSHIRE Swindon; WORCESTERSHIRE Bromsgrove; YORKSHIRE Bradford, Hull, Halifax, Rotherham.

Notes to Editors

  • For more information contact Elaine Toland on 01732 364546.
  • We have an ISDN line for broadcast-quality radio interviews.
  • See also reptile campaign index.

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