APA: On the wild side
Animal Welfare Species Survival Environmental Impact Commercial Activity Health Threats Controls and Chaos

I'm a chameleon ....get me out of here!

Lush is known as a company with conviction and supports a wide range of animal protection projects. Given the alarming rate at which the reptile trade is expanding, Lush has stepped in to help APA drive home the message that reptiles are wild animals, not pets. From 6th to 13th August 2010, Lush will be raising awareness of the suffering of captive reptiles with a range of activities that will take place throughout its UK network of stores. A parallel campaign will also be run in Lush stores throughout the Republic of Ireland.

The main aim of Lush's campaign is to counter the sales pitch propagated by the reptile industry that reptiles are 'easy to keep'. Claims are regularly made that reptiles make less demanding pets than dogs but this is only true if reptiles are kept in conditions where they are forced to suffer. As they are pre-programmed for a life in the wild, reptiles do not adapt to artificial conditions and therefore trying to replicate their natural environment is virtually impossible. Many reptiles die because of inappropriate housing, inadequate diet and simply from the stress of living in an unnatural environment. Concerns about the growing exotic pet trade are shared by all major animal welfare groups, as well as the British Veterinary Association.

Unfortunately it is still legal in the UK to sell reptiles that have been captured from the wild in other countries. Collecting reptiles for the pet trade is now considered a major threat to wild populations around the world, disrupting ecosystems and driving species to extinction. The majority of wild-caught reptiles come from Africa, Asia, and South America. Last year, records show that six million reptiles were imported in to the EU and nearly 200,000 reptiles arrived in the UK from outside the EU - the majority of them wild-caught. The trade in captive-bred reptiles is also a major concern - many UK captive-breeding operations operate outside of the law, are unlicensed and uninspected.

The Lush campaign features in-store parties aimed at under 12-yr olds with a reptile quiz, arts and crafts, and information to take away about why reptiles don't make good pets. Customers will be given 5 good reasons not to buy a reptile as a pet - these reasons include the fact that captive reptiles have enormously complex needs; the trade poses a threat to wild populations; and reptile-keeping is associated with disease risks.

A limited edition colour-changing chameleon bath ballistic will be on sale at Lush, priced at £2.50, throughout August to raise funds for APA's work. Why not pop into your local Lush store to pick up a chameleon and a copy of Lush Times, which carries a full-page article about the reptile trade? And, while you're there, please don't forget to thank the Store Manager for all Lush has done in throwing its weight behind such an important campaign.