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Press Release April 2005

Durham City Council clamps down on pet markets

The Animal Protection Agency (APA), a national campaign group focused on ending the trade in wild animals as pets, has today commended Durham City Council for taking preventative action to stop illegal animal dealing within its jurisdiction. APA were tipped off by local supporters that regular exotic bird auctions were taking place at Coxhoe Village Hall, Front Street, Coxhoe, Co Durham and immediately notified Durham City Council. Fortnightly bird auctions had been planned for the rest of the year.

In a letter to the Animal Protection Agency, Durham City Council made clear its intention to take enforcement action against all such sales or auctions in future. The Pet Animals Act 1951 was amended in 1983 to disallow sales of pet animals in public places or markets. Experts in exotic animal health and welfare maintain that even minimal standards of animal husbandry cannot be attained at temporary pet markets or auctions.

Says Elaine Toland, Director of APA:
"Two of our local supporters visited the auction and saw first hand, illegal trading taking place. Durham City Council has now sent a clear message to bird and other pet dealers that commercial trading outside of conventional pet shops will not be tolerated. This is great news for animal welfare!"

As well as working with Local Authorities in closing down illegal pet auctions and markets, the Animal Protection Agency is campaigning against measures contained in the Government's proposed Animal Welfare Bill that would legalise pet markets. Councils across the UK have greatly reduced exotic bird-selling events and effectively banned reptile markets through their application of the 1983 amendment to the Pet Animals Act. Any move to lift the ban on pet markets would set animal welfare back twenty years.

Local APA supporters will continue to monitor the local press and potential venues for similar unlawful pet sales.

Issued: 11 May 2005

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