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Press Release June 2010

Doncaster Council's incompetence results in large-scale illegal animal trading

Doncaster Council has once again been brought to book for its incompetence - this time for failing to take action to stop unlawful animal trading at a reptile market due to take place this Sunday 20 June 2010 at the Doncaster Dome. The Animal Protection Agency and International Animal Rescue are disgusted that illegal animal dealers will be lining their pockets while thousands of wild animals suffer as a result of the council's shameful inaction.

Two months ago, the Audit Commissioner's report on Doncaster Council found that the local authority was failing across the board, not just on one service or issue but in the very way it operates. Further to this, Doncaster has now become England's capital for illegal animal dealing, despite the fact that clear evidence has been presented to the Council that commercial animal traders at the Doncaster Dome event are routinely flouting the law.

The selling of pet animals at markets was outlawed in 1983, by way of an amendment to the Pet Animals Act 1951, which reads: "If any person carries on a business of selling animals as pets in any part of a street or public place, or at a stall or barrow in a market, he shall be guilty of an offence." Doncaster Council, however, bizarrely claims that sales of animals between members of a reptile club at the event are lawful. It has so far failed to provide the legal rationale to justify its claim.

Said Animal Protection Agency spokesperson Elaine Toland: "It's very likely that Doncaster Council is now viewed as a 'soft touch' by illegal animal dealers who have carried out their lucrative trade and got away with it. There is ample evidence to show that stallholders at this event are established commercial traders and that they fully intend to break the law on Sunday."

The Doncaster reptile market is now the largest event of its kind in the country and is attended by dozens of animal traffickers selling stressed and suffering animals. The sheer volume of animals on sale at the event is inconsistent with the organisers' claims that the stallholders are private individuals selling a few of their own surplus pets. These events have been compared to animal car boot sales. Reptiles and amphibians are displayed in takeaway containers - sometimes the plastic tubs are so small that the animals are unable to move.

The Animal Protection Agency is an organisation focused on ceasing the trade in wild animals as pets. They work closely with International Animal Rescue, which works to save animals worldwide from the activities of illegal wildlife dealers.

Issued 15 June 2010

Animal Protection Agency
Brighton Media Centre
15-17 Middle Street

Tel: 01273 674253
Fax: 01273 674927
Mobile: 07986 535024