August 2013

August 2013 Newsletter

Reptile Keeping Study Results!

Only 3.25% of pet reptiles die within the first year. (Not quite the 75% claimed by animal rights groups, then?)

Animal rights extremists have long besmirched the ethics and standards of reptile keeping in the UK, often making unsubstantiated claims that those active within the hobby have considered ridiculous. A recent ‘report’ originated by the Animal Protection Agency claimed that three quarters of reptiles die within their first year, a figure that was fiercely opposed by those within the hobby.

A new academic study conducted by University of Kent BSc student Becky Clark has authoritatively refuted the APA’s claims with data showing the figure to be nearer 3.25%. Utilising data from over 800 questionnaire responses Clark collated evidence which disproved many of the claims made by animal rights groups. Evidence regarding the supposed risk of zoonitic disease, standards of welfare and conservation issues found the methodology and claims presented by the APA study to be lacking.

“If the animal groups really had the ability to prevent reptiles from being kept as pets they would have been able to produce up to date evidence to back their claims. However, there is a lot of scientific evidence available already to refute their claims and statements. With reptiles well on the way to becoming the UK’s most kept type of pet, it may well be easier for those against it to accept this fact and to focus their work on ensuring that these animals are being kept to a high welfare standard instead.” - Becky Clark

The full report will be available on the FBH website soon -

Are you going to The Kempton Park show?

A few minutes of your time will to help defeat dodgy science.

We all know that the information touted by animal rights extremists is not scientifically robust. So, a team of researchers from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) at the University of Kent have designed a study to obtain rigorous scientific evidence on mortality rates of reptiles.

If you’re visiting the Kempton show this weekend you’ll probably bump into the DICE researchers who will be there gathering information from reptile enthusiasts like you.

Please, please, please spend a few minutes answering their short questionnaire. The information you provide will help to smash the dodgy data being peddled by those who would like to see reptile keeping banned.

The success of the project depends upon the cooperation of reptile owners so we encourage all Kempton attendees to spare a few minutes of your time to support this research.

FBH Conference 3013

Speakers from London Zoo, DEFRA, Bangor University along with specialists within the hobby were amongst the panel of experts delivering the program for the 2013 FBH Conference.

Over 100 delegates from in and around the UK’s reptile hobby attended the largest ever FBH conference in June. Based at a new, larger venue at Doncaster Racecourse the event featured presentations covering topics from invasive species and reptile welfare to wild caught animals and standards of care.

“The hobby is growing as a direct result of input from experts such as those presenting at this year’s Conference.” So says FBH Chairman Chris Newman. “The speakers and topics exemplify the high quality sources of data used to advance our hobby still further.”

“In addition to thanking the speakers we would like to extend out gratitude for the input from delegates attending the conference. Dedicated hobbyists offered informed and enthusiastic comment from the floor which proved to enhance the event and the benefits we all gained from the day.”

The FBH would also like to formally thank Doncaster Racecourse for their continued partisan support, ExoTerra for sponsoring the event and to the I.H.S. for the exceptional standards on display at the Breeder’ Meeting which occurred the following day.

Look out for news of next year’s event on our website

APA delay animal welfare protection

Following two years of delays the Model License Conditions for Pet Shops was finally published by the government’s National Working Party. Despite being completed in 2011 by a working party of experts the guidance was delayed due to disruptions caused by the extremist group Animal Protection Agency.

Aiming to standardize guidance for welfare and sales of animals of all pet taxa in UK pet stores, the document was compiled by specialists from a range of organizations including the Dogs Trust, RSPCA, British Veterinary Association, OATA, REPTA and Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and DEFRA. With publication imminent the group came under attack from the APA as they sought to re-write the document to encompass their own radical agenda.

In an email circulated by Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Chief Executibe Graham Jukes, he wrote that the process had ‘become embroiled in lengthy and increasingly contentious correspondence with the APA and several other organizations” and that, “the accusation has been made that the document is potentially injurious to human health. Furthermore, the academic credentials and career experience of members of the working party have been called into question and full contact details of members have been demanded, which I have of course NOT provided. The credibility of the CIEH has been questioned – formal complaints have been presented and referrals to the Charity Commission have been threatened; several emails have been sent to senior CIEH trustees and Parliamentary vice-presidents.”

These actions have caused the considerable delay of model standards that aim to protect animal welfare. Thankfully, after a lengthy process, the working group has discounted the efforts of the APA and published the guidance in full.

Click here for a link to the Model License Conditions for Pet Shops

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