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British Federation of Herpetologists
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Author:  Chris Newman [ Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: British Federation of Herpetologists

Brenda Vernon wrote:Chris why waste our time :?: The whole site appears unfinished apart from the request for a donation
Brenda


Are you suggesting that it is inappropriate for an organisation to seek donations to defend the interests of its members – bit hypocritical don’t you think!
Chris
Author:  Chris Newman [ Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: British Federation of Herpetologists

Tortoise Trust wrote:<<We fully accept the need for proper legislation that seeks to protect the well being of reptiles & amphibians. Any changes, however, must be carefully thought through before Government imposes them upon ordinary individuals.>>

Completely agree with you there Chris. There is no doubt that "knee=jerk" reactions by politicians are a serious problem and can result in irrational, unworkable legislation.

>> The current “lottery” when it comes to local authorities issuing (or not) Pet Shop & Dangerous Wild Animals Act licences must come to an end. Equally inspecting authorities, whoever they may be, must have proper experience/ qualifications to do the job in hand.>>

I agree again. Too often inspecting authorities (including CITES inspecting authorities) do not know their job and get it totally wrong.


>>The activities on the very vocal animal rights groups need to be curtailed & these people exposed for what they are. >>

Curtailed? You mean you want their freedom of speech restricted? They have as much right to express an opinion as you do. I do not agree with much, or even most, of what they say when it comes to reptile keeping (I think they fail to understand it), but they are fully entitled to put their point across, just as much as you do, or I do. I would not want to see anyone "curtailed". There is too much of that going on as it is. As for "these people exposed for what they are" - I'm sure they'd say the same about some of the people you speak up for!!! :lol: People who sell contagious tortoises with herpes, for example.... Anyway, that sounds very extreme and unbalanced. That kind of statement will put genuine herpetologists right off.

Andy


Not at all, I have no interest in objection to anyone’s freedom of speech, that is the cornerstone of democracy. What I object to is lies, threats, intimidations and violence. Unfortunately many Animal Rights fundamentalist are unable to enter into debate, presumably because they know they are wrong, so resort to the aforementioned to foist their views upon others, that is not acceptable.
Chris
Author:  Tortoise Trust [ Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: British Federation of Herpetologists

Chris,

Totally agree on the threats, intimidation, violence, etc.

However... "lies" is rather subjective, to say the least. Your "truth" is another person's lie, and vice versa....

Who gets to say which is which?

The problem I see is this: there are indeed animal rights people who object to all companion animal keeping. I think they are wrong. There are a lot more who object to various forms of animal exploitation and abuse - and they often (not always) have a valid point. If, however, you react in an extremist, fanatical way to this yourself, you actually undermine your own credibility. Far better to listen to what they say, deal logically with points where they are wrong, and accept that sometimes they are right. Trying to dismiss them all as raving fanatics who do not even believe in what they say is plain ridiculous. I have not ever met one who does not passionately believe in their cause. Claiming they are all completely wrong is as ludicrous as claiming all pet shops are animal hell-holes. It is an extremist, irrational response to a situation that really deserves some intelligent debate and discussion. It is a tactic that can backfire - because unless you have credibility in the eyes of the majority, you are ill-equipped to defend the very "rights" of your own case. If you come across as just another extremist yourself, it is ultimately self defeating.

Andy
Author:  Chris Newman [ Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: British Federation of Herpetologists

Tortoise Trust wrote:Chris,

Totally agree on the threats, intimidation, violence, etc.

However... "lies" is rather subjective, to say the least. Your "truth" is another person's lie, and vice versa....

Who gets to say which is which?

The problem I see is this: there are indeed animal rights people who object to all companion animal keeping. I think they are wrong. There are a lot more who object to various forms of animal exploitation and abuse - and they often (not always) have a valid point. If, however, you react in an extremist, fanatical way to this yourself, you actually undermine your own credibility. Far better to listen to what they say, deal logically with points where they are wrong, and accept that sometimes they are right. Trying to dismiss them all as raving fanatics who do not even believe in what they say is plain ridiculous. I have not ever met one who does not passionately believe in their cause. Claiming they are all completely wrong is as ludicrous as claiming all pet shops are animal hell-holes. It is an extremist, irrational response to a situation that really deserves some intelligent debate and discussion. It is a tactic that can backfire - because unless you have credibility in the eyes of the majority, you are ill-equipped to defend the very "rights" of your own case. If you come across as just another extremist yourself, it is ultimately self defeating.

Andy


Whilst I agree with you Andy that ‘lies’ can be subjective, sometimes they are clear. I attended an Animal Rights conference at the Monkey Sanctuary Trust earlier this year, the conferences sponsored by the Animal Protection Agency, one of the lunatic members of Endcap. Some of the so called facts stated by APA were lies, clear and simple. I have no issue at all with people having differing views, I support the responsible keeping of animals in captivity, others don’t – that is fine. I have no issues people campaign against the keeping of animals, debating such issues is thoroughly laudable.
Author:  Chris Newman [ Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: British Federation of Herpetologists

Andy this might interest you, shows we do do ssomething constructive!

With regards to last night’s meeting of North Hertfordshire District Council Licensing Committee at which they proposed a ban the sales of reptiles from pet shops, that proposal was immediately withdrawn after the presentations, which is good news.

Below is the oral and written submission.

Chris


Mr Chairman thank you for allowing me to speak, I fully appreciate the busy schedule for this evening so I will be brief.

My name is Chris Newman, I am a consultant to the Reptile & Exotic Pet Trade Association, a position I have held for the past five years. My unpaid job is chairman of the Federation of British Herpetologists, which represents private keepers of reptiles and amphibians - a position I have held for the past ten years.

I have kept reptiles since the age of 5, a total of 45 years. I have been involved with the Animal Welfare Act since its inception; I chaired the government Working Group on Pet Fairs/Shows. I also sat on the Pet Vending Group, and the group that endeavoured to defined ‘welfare’. Additionally, I sit on many governmental and non-governmental committees that deal with reptile related issues be these welfare or conservation.

I am surprised, and not a little disappointed, that a forward thinking and progressive body such as North Hertfordshire District Council should come forward with such an ill-considered an outdated proposal as to prohibit pet shops to sell reptiles. I would question if the Council even has the legal power to do so!

Notwithstanding this, should the Council choose to enact the proposed ban on the sale of reptiles through pet shops, that decision would be challengeable by means of Judicial Review. I have know doubt such a challenge would be made, and I have absolutely no doubt what the outcome of such a challenge would be.

Clearly the proposal to ban sales is a decision not based on science, or even on best available evidence, I can only conclude it is based on prejudice or discrimination – neither of which are acceptable in a modern society.

Reptiles have been the fastest growing sector of the pet industry for the past two decades. I have provided the committee with a brief fact sheet relating to reptiles, but let me just highlighting one of the points.

This is a paragraph taken from a report published by the Companion Animal Welfare Council [CAWC] back in 2003. CAWC being the formal advisor to government on companion animal welfare matters:

‘……it may be easier to keep some non-domesticated species to high welfare standards than some that are domesticated. Thus, meeting all the requirements - space, dietary, social, thermal, and so on - of a small, hardy, reptile may be more readily achievable for many people than adequately fulfilling all the needs of some breeds of dog’

It is very important when choosing a pet the perspective owner is able to make an informed choice as to suitability of species. Reptiles are the first choice for many families with allergy sufferers, and also for those people who work or are absent from home for periods which would make mammals or birds unsuitable.

Increasingly reptiles are also the choice for pet owners who care for the environment and native ecology, both of which suffer the ravages of what are perceived as more domesticated pets such as cats and dogs.

I think it would be utterly inappropriate, not to say highly discriminatory to ban sales of animals which are the first choice for responsible and well informed pet keeper, this point is reflected in the extremely low numbers of these animals which fall into the hands of rescue centres.

On this occasion I hope common sense will prevail and pet keepers will be able to continue to make properly informed decisions as to the animals they are permitted to purchase - what ever those animals may be.

Thank you for your time.




An appraisal of Reptiles as pets
Reptiles are increasing in popularity as pets as many are easier to keep than many other traditional pets. A quote from the governments advisers on animal welfare CAWC [Companion Animal Welfare Council]:

“it may be easier to keep some non-domesticated species to high welfare standards than some that are domesticated. Thus, meeting all the requirements - space, dietary, social, thermal, and so on - of a small, hardy, reptile may be more readily achievable for many people than adequately fulfilling all the needs of some breeds of dog”

Responsible Pet Owning [data from RSPCA sources, 2003]:

Ø In the UK there are 6.5 million companion dogs

Ø There are over 5 million companion reptiles

Ø The RSPCA rescue or re-home on average 25,000 dogs a year (0.38% of total companion dogs)

Ø RSPCA rescue or re-home less than a 900 reptiles on average (0.018% of total companion reptiles)

Statistically reptiles are the second safest pet to keep, just behind tropical fish. Data from HASS [Home Accident Surveillance System, 2002] numbers of people visited hospital due to injuries received from animals:

Dogs: 64,063 (0.98% of companion dogs caused an injury)
Reptiles: 328 (0.006% of companion reptiles caused an injury)

In 2008 REPTA [Reptile & Exotic Pet Trade Association] valued the reptile sector of the pet industry at £130 million. According to AMA research the pet trade overall was valued at £4.7 billion in 2008.
Reptiles have been the fastest growing sector of the pet industry for the past two decades. According to the Pet Care Trust's State of the Sector Report 2006, 24.4% of retailers questioned sold reptiles.
In 2004 in excess of 1 million homes kept more than 5 million reptiles and amphibians. By 2008 estimates are the 1.2 million households keep over 7 million pet reptiles.
Colubrid snakes (corns, rats, milks etc), leopard geckos, bearded dragons and tortoises represent in excess of 75% of reptiles in trade. 90% of animals in trade are captive bred with over 300,000 reptiles and amphibians being bred in the UK each year and this is increasing.
In 2004 over ten million crickets were bred each week in the UK to feed pet reptiles, by 2008 this had doubled to over twenty million crickets a week. The pet industry sells in excess of 1,000 vivariums each and every week from pet shops.
Author:  Tortoise Trust [ Sun Nov 08, 2009 9:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: British Federation of Herpetologists

Chis,

I share your concerns on Endcap, and have commented on this:

One of the big problems when people behave recklessly or in any other way that is, by normal standards, indefensible, is that it plays straight into the hands of those who wish to ban reptile keeping completely. Some of these people (I will mention no names!) think they are "defending the rights" of reptile keepers - but they are not. They are simply providing more ammunition to those trying to ban the entire principle of private individuals (or even zoos) of keeping ANY reptile in captivity, for any reason (as is the case in Norway). For example, see:

http://www.endcaptivity.org/

I know the people involved with this and recently joined it. Not because I agree with everything they say, but because I think some of what they say is bad science, a gross exaggeration and over-reaction and because I profoundly disagree with where they are coming from (and going to) with this. The only way to be heard is to take part in the debate.

When I refer to bad science and over-reaction I'd especially point out the constant references to salmonella infections. Take a close look at the language used and the prominence this receives on the above website. The true facts are very different:

http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=4&ved=0CBYQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.eurosurveillance.org%2Fimages%2Fdynamic%2FEE%2FV13N24%2Fart18902.pdf&rct=j&q=salmonella+human+cases+turtles+eu&ei=UjHtSvPKJ4XSjAfFnIybDQ&usg=AFQjCNH9mM_0Al9ThcT9HhQzutH6o4WOSw

The truth is that cases of reptile-related salmonella infections are rare - and it is reasonable to assume that of those, most, if not all would have been easily preventable by the keepers following the most simple hygiene precautions. Compare to cases resulting from the food industry... I note that they are not trying to ban all farm animals, however! On the contrary, in a very strange move indeed, these Animal Rights supporters actually seem to suggest that it would HELP the intensive agriculture industry if pet reptile keeping was banned!

"Livestock industries are also at risk from disease issues associated with wildlife trade – it has been estimated that damage to these industries has cost hundreds of billions of dollars globally."

I find it bizarre that anyone associated with the principles of Animal Rights would care much about "damage" to the "livestock industries"!!!

Andy


I personally do not agree with efforts to "ban" reptile keeping or to generally ban sales from shops. I do think that it is vital, however, that retailers improve standards dramatically as this is merely making it easy for the ban-all-extremists to make their case.

Andy
Author:  Chris Newman [ Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: British Federation of Herpetologists

Andy,

I am very surprised, and a little alarmed to hear that you have become a member of Endcap, that is a pretty extreme organisation! Know doubt I will have the ‘pleasure’ of the company of some of the very radical members at the EC Commission meeting in a couple of weeks. I would suggest that very little of what Endcap purport is ‘good science’, salmonella is a good example, but there is much more, best of luck being a member, that’s all I will say!!

In terms of petshops selling reptiles, or indeed any pets come to that, standards have come on substantially over the last ten years. There is still room for improvement, there always is, but today there is no excuse for a ‘bad’ shop.

Petshops are licensed to trade by the local authority, that authority has the powers to make certain that a shop must reach a good standard. Therefore there are no excuses for bad shops, I fully accept there are still some bad shops and this is not acceptable. Where you have bad shops, the local authority is complicit in this as they allow such shops to exist. Bad shops and bad local authorities are an issue that needs addressing.

I had hoped under the Animal Welfare Act we would have seen some significant improvements, I sat on the Pet vending Working Group to define ‘pet vending’ legislation that was to repeal the Pet Animals Act 1951, it is very disappointing that government has lost all political will to take the secondary legislation forward.
Author:  Tortoise Trust [ Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: British Federation of Herpetologists

As I clearly stated, Chris - I do not agree with them on the issue of pet reptiles at all. The only way to be heard however, is to take part in the debate.

Nothing is ever achieved by refusing to talk to people with whom you have differences.

Regarding the AWA - it is not working. That is obvious.

Andy
Author:  Chris Newman [ Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: British Federation of Herpetologists

I quite agree which is why I am always prepared to debate issues with anyone. The problem, and that includes members of endcap, is they refuse to enter into any kind of debate. As Clifford Warwick once said in a government meeting “I’m not talking to you”!!!

Regards to the AWA, by enlarge the Act is not a bad Act, its not the Act that is falling it is the lack of political will to complete the secondary legislation and for the Act to be implemented and enforced properly. Hopefully this will change in time, although I’m not going to hold my breath. Animal Welfare is way down the list on most Local Authorities agendas.
Author:  Eversfield [ Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: British Federation of Herpetologists

Chris,
That seems most uncharacteristic of Clifford Warwick :!: :lol: :lol:
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