The Animal Protection Agency (APA) and International Animal Rescue (IAR) are delighted that Maidstone Borough Council has effectively refused permission for a reptile market due to take place this Sunday, 18 April 2010 at the Lockmeadow Centre.
The terms for hire of the Market Hall at the Lockmeadow Centre now include a standard condition that prohibits the sale, or advertising for sale, of animals. The sale of pets at markets was outlawed in 1983 under the Pet Animals Act 1951.
Last year, on 30 August, investigators from the APA and IAR attended a reptile market organised by the 'Maidstone Reptile and Amphibian Club', an amateur group of hobbyists and dealers, at the Lockmeadow Centre. Investigators gathered evidence of illegal animal dealing and appalling animal welfare conditions. The sheer volume of animals on sale was inconsistent with the organisers' claims that the stallholders were private individuals selling a few of their own surplus pets.
Said Animal Protection Agency spokesperson, Elaine Toland:
"We're very pleased to see that market trading of reptiles will not be tolerated by Maidstone Council. We have been working alongside local authorities around the country to counter illegal reptile markets and this work seems to be paying off. Unfortunately, event organisers will no doubt persist in mis-representing their events as 'breeders meetings' and 'reptile shows' when in fact they are large-scale animal trading events."
Evidence supplied to the Council from last year's event showed clearly that the conditions at the market would have caused animal suffering. Stalls displayed row upon row of small plastic tubs containing animals, often piled three or four deep. Traders neglected even the most basic biological needs of the animals in terms of light, heat, space, humidity and ventilation.
Issued 13 April 2010
Animal Protection Agency
Brighton Media Centre
15-17 Middle Street
Tel: 01273 674253
Fax: 01273 674927
Mobile: 07986 535024