Animal Aid


Posted 15 December 2000

Plans for a new reptile park in Llanelli, South Wales, which had been proposed as part of a National Lottery-funded Millennium Coastal Development (MCD), have been scrapped due to pressure from national animal rights group, Animal Aid. The park would have held more than 48 different species of snake, three species of crocodile and various types of lizard and frog from all over the world.

Animal Aid's objection arose out of serious concerns that the planned project would:

  • Subject the animals to serious stress.
  • Encourage the retail trade in exotic wildlife.
  • Promote a false and damaging 'educational' message that was likely to impact negatively on species conservation.
  • Put the visiting public at potential risk, due to the micro-organisms that persist and thrive in stressed reptiles.

The quashing of the Llanelli project is another blow dealt to the reptile trade by Animal Aid. In September, the DIY store chain, Focus Do It All, stopped selling reptiles following a nine month campaign by the pressure group that involved hundreds of demos outside the group's outlets. Focus was the last store chain to sell reptiles, the majority of whom die in their first year in captivity, usually from stress-related illnesses.

Animal Aid, working with the Captive Animals' Protection Society (CAPS), also stopped 12 out of 15 major reptile fairs due to have been held in 2000. The groups successfully argued with local authorities that such fairs are illegal under the 1951 Pet Animals Act.

In response to the Llanelli development, Animal Aid commissioned reptile biologist Clifford Warwick to examine the 'Project Overview' and prepare an objection. This was submitted to the Millennium Commission Board and to key officials at Carmarthenshire County Council - the MCD land owners. Five days later, on December 13, the man behind the project - South African Peter Kriel - withdrew his proposal.

Said Andrew Tyler, Director of Animal Aid:

"World of Reptiles would effectively have been a shop window for the reptile trade, no matter the proposer's grand promises about conservation gains. Our success in thwarting the project comes on top of other important strikes against the reptile trade. Reptiles suffer enormously in captivity - whether in a glorified reptile zoo, or a glass case in a suburban bedroom. We are heartened that the common-sense case we made against the proposed project for Llanelli has prevailed."

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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