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Press Release March 2013

Wildlife jumble sale left rummaging by Newport Council

Newport City Council has won praise from the Animal Protection Agency (APA) for being the latest in a long line of local authorities that have not played host to wild animal dealers selling from jumble sale-like markets. Plans for a market, where reptiles and amphibians were due to be sold as pets, have been scuppered following APA’s tip-off to the Council that the event had been mis-described as an ‘expo’. APA provided evidence that the event could attract illegal trading and also pose a serious public health risk.

The event, billed as the ‘South Wales Amphibian and Reptile Expo’ was originally due to take place at the Underwood Leisure Centre in Newport and was advertised as having been moved to the Newport International Sports Village before the Council intervened. The event organisers have so far failed to notify the public that their event has been cancelled. APA suspects that the disgruntled organisers and sellers, who stand to profit from selling wildlife, may now be on the lookout for a new, last-minute venue. APA has issued a warning to venue managers in South Wales to be vigilant and inform the Agency if they are approached.

The selling of pet animals at market stalls, whether by established traders or private individuals, was banned in 1983, as it was felt that animal welfare could not be safeguarded in these temporary environments. 75% of pet reptiles do not survive a year in the home. Also, many medical publications now firmly link keeping and trading reptiles to human illness.

A recent independent scientific report found that the conditions and treatment for the vast majority of reptiles and amphibians at these types of events was ‘tantamount to animal abuse’. Thanks to the work of the Animal Protection Agency and the prompt response by Newport City Council, many thousands of animals have now been spared.

Says Elaine Toland, Director of the Animal Protection Agency:

“Exotic pet trading can be a lucrative business and, in the past, organisers of such events have attempted to go underground. We are concerned that this may be the case here, although if the event is to be profitable for traders, then it has to be advertised – this is where we need the public and venue managers to keep their eyes and ears open. Organisers will often mis-describe their events as ‘meetings’, ‘shows’ or ‘expos’ when, in fact, they are wild animal markets.”

Over the years, the Animal Protection Agency has successfully liaised with numerous local councils to prevent unlawful animal trading. Last year, on APA’s advice, councils for Barking & Dagenham, Warrington, Chelmsford and Doncaster, all refused permission for wild animal markets on their premises.

For further information, please contact Elaine Toland on 01273 674253 or the out-of-hours number 07986 535024.

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