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Press Release June 2006

Stafford Council turns blind eye to dodgy animal dealing

Following a High Court case last week that Stafford Borough Council lost and that clearly ruled that bird markets are illegal, Stafford BC has elected not to attend a giant bird market at the Staffordshire County Showground this Sunday (25th June 2006). The case, brought by Malcolm Haynes against Stafford BC, meant that local councils should now act to prevent the sale of pets at markets.

The Parrot Society has historically organised some of the largest and most notorious commercial bird markets but now bizarrely claims that stallholders will not be carrying on a business but will effectively be selling their own private animal collections! The Society has also claimed that it will not be selling birds as 'pets' but as 'breeding birds.' The Animal Protection Agency (APA) - which has filmed sick animals in appalling conditions at Parrot Society markets ­ has warned the Society that illegal activities jeopardise its status as a registered charity.

Stafford BC has offered no explanation for its curious acceptance of the Parrot Societyıs claims that no 'pet' birds will be sold. Nor has it explained how the sale of breeder animals at markets would be legal in this case. Mark Street, Environmental Health Manager did however give an assurance that complaints would be acted upon following the event. Officers from the RSPCA and Animal Protection Agency will be present and gathering evidence on the day.

Elaine Toland, Director of APA, said:
"Stafford Borough Council has long been regarded as a 'soft touch' by illegal animal dealers. On this occasion they have outdone themselves by taking at face value assurances from the Parrot Society that are not in-keeping with their long experience of this event, which by its very nature is commercially-driven. It's an outrage that once again thousands of birds may be sold in illegal conditions at this market!"

Markets of this type have also been severely criticised around the world because they pose a serious threat to animal and public health by spreading bird flu, which is why many countries are closing them down.

Issued June 21, 2006