Kempton Park Racecourse has today confirmed that it has refused a booking for a controversial reptile market planned to take place on 16 August 2015. The event, billed as the ‘Kempton Park Reptile Expo’, had become an annual affair and featured over 130 stalls selling reptiles and amphibians as pets - despite it being illegal to trade pet animals from market stalls!
The Animal Protection Agency (APA), which has long-campaigned against exotic pet markets, is delighted at the news. Conditions for animals at these events were consistently poor. Most animals were confined to extremely small plastic tubs where they were barely able to move and little to no consideration was given to temperature, humidity or lighting control. APA’s campaign has been so successful that there is now only one remaining reptile market, which takes place in Doncaster. However, Doncaster Council is keen to continue to enforce the law after bringing the first prosecution against a trader for unlawfully selling animals – the same trader also operated at the Kempton Park market.
Says Elaine Toland, APA Director:
“The scale of maltreatment of animals at the Kempton Park event was truly sickening and involved many thousands of animals. We are, of course, very glad to see the back of the event and to know that we are one step closer to finally seeing an end to reptile markets in the UK.”
Animal dealers who operate through exotic pet markets often claim that their business is legitimate because they are hobbyists. However, there is no exemption in law for anyone describing themselves as hobbyists or private breeders. APA’s investigations in fact reveal that very often traders are actually established businesses operating internationally who use these events to sell animals without the overheads or regulatory controls of a pet shop.