In a sudden turn of events, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has today announced that it proposes to ban commercial trading at pet fairs in the new Animal Welfare Bill. The Animal Protection Agency (APA), which spearheaded a campaign to stamp out such barbaric trading of mainly exotic, wild-caught animals, has commended the Government and now looks forward to the Bill receiving Royal Assent.
Other organisations that opposed commercial pet markets include, the British Veterinary Association, RSPCA, RSPB, BioVeterinary Group, BirdsFirst, International Fund for Animal Welfare, World Society for the Protection of Animals, Captive Animals Protection Society, Born Free Foundation, Animal Aid, Wildlife Conservation Society, New Life Parrot Rescue and the Tortoise Trust. APA will now be holding talks with its many associate organisations to discuss how best they can support DEFRA with their new plans.
A Judicial Review judgement in June cleared-up any ambiguity relating to the current law on pet fairs, and DEFRA described it as a "useful contribution to the debate". The APA are in concert with Animal Welfare Minister, Ben Bradshaw, that DEFRA's revised measures will help to provide "the best protection yet for animals at pet fairs."
Elaine Toland, Director of APA, said:
"The Government's new and clear intention to prohibit commercial trading of animals at pet fairs is a most welcome advancement for animal welfare that sits comfortably in a Bill designed to bring about real improvements in the way we treat animals. The Animal Welfare Bill, with this latest commitment, ensures genuine protection for countless thousands of pet and wild animals.
Clifford Warwick, Consultant Biologist and Medical Scientist, said: "For many years I've been familiar with the worrisome issue of commercial trading of wildlife at pet fairs. Combined, the hard work of many local authorities to stamp out these events has been constructively built on by animal welfare groups such as the APA and more recently the High Court. DEFRA's revised position to ban commercial selling of animals at pet fairs is arguably the most important and positive move on this subject for a long time. It is to be welcomed and is sure to be widely supported in the key circles."
The "Stop UK Pet Markets" campaign also enjoyed the support of world- renowned experts in biology, conservation and medicine. The APA campaign team were heartened by the enormous cross-party support right up to high- level discussions with MPs, Ministers and Peers. Cherie Blair, Gordon Brown and Environment Minister, David Miliband, personally expressed to APA their genuine interest in the issue.
Issued: October 10, 2006
Elaine Toland, Director of APA, discusses pet fairs with senior Government figures