Dear FBH Supporter,
Welcome to the first FBH newsletter.
This newsletter is sent each month to those who have subscribed to our mailing list and is posted here approximately a week after the first mail out.
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Your link with the FBH
You will be pleased to hear that a new website is in development. The site aims to harness the support of hobbyists and to attract much needed donation funding to enable the FBH to protect our hobby. The site will be the primary resource for the latest news and all of the work the FBH is currently undertaking. In addition it will be a portal to enable hobbyists to engage with the FBH and its work by supporting societies, raising awareness and becoming actively involved by various methods. We expect the website to be live sometime in August.
Most of you will be aware of the difficulties caused by anti-pet keeping extremists with regards the I.H.S. show in Doncaster this year. Having been successful in halting two smaller shows, the A.P.A. under Elaine Tolland exerted pressure upon the Doncaster local authority in an attempt to do the same there. In addition to bombarding the telephone and email communications of many local authority employees, the A.P.A. attempted to manipulate an ambiguous and out of date piece of law pertaining to the 1952 Pet Animals Act.
The process employed by the A.P.A. to stop shows has rarely been successful, as local authorities and venue operators are fully aware of the legal situation regarding reptile shows. The ambiguity of the law is widely understood and it is accepted that it cannot be applied to this type of event. However, Doncaster Council’s moves to constrain the event by exerting financial pressure on the venue left the I.H.S. with no choice but to go to court. Following a last minute court hearing and a race against time, we were extremely pleased that our case was upheld. The show went ahead with great success attracting the highest attendance figures in the event’s history. It has been said that we should thank Elaine Tolland for galvanising the reptile hobby and encouraging such a fabulous turnout on the day.
It is impossible to articulate the amount of work that was undertaken behind the scenes to ensure the show went ahead. I.H.S. event organiser Richard Brook should be on everyone’s Christmas card list for his mammoth achievement in ensuring that the doors opened on time. Chris Newman from the F.B.H. was once again Herculean in his efficiency, making great use of his political and legal experience and expertise. Similarly, every other active member of the I.H.S. who was there on the day should be praised for their hard work and determination, as without these people the show could not and would not have happened. I’d like to extend my personal thanks to each of these people and ask that everyone who receives this bulletin finds a way to express their gratitude too.
More show news.
The I.H.S. show was attended by no less than ten representatives and inspectors from the local authority. We have learned that approximately a third of the local authority’s annual budget was spent in attending and inspecting this single event. Given such a large expenditure it is not surprising that there is a massive focus and much pressure upon the local authority to be seen to be doing something. It comes as no surprise then that Doncaster Council is seeking to bring a prosecution against one of the breeders attending the meeting. Whilst we are very confident that there are absolutely no grounds for prosecution it is important that the details of this case are not discussed publicly, particularly online. The F.B.H. would like to urge supporters to refrain from doing so and await news of the outcome. We promise to bring you a special bulletin as soon as we know more, though this may be some months hence.
What happens now?
There is still much work to be done to ensure the continued success of reptile shows in the UK. The Doncaster show court case was the most advanced legal challenge the F.B.H. has ever faced and winning was a major boost to both our confidence and our political position. However, the case itself does not change the law as it stands and the future of shows is still under threat due to this ambiguity.
The I.H.S show went ahead because of the hard work and support shown by the whole of the reptile keeping community. The support received at the Doncaster show was astounding. From rallying support for our reptile societies to collecting F.B.H. donations from show attendees - everyone was eager and active in supporting their hobby. We need to build on the momentum of this support to ensure this continued success. There is still much work to be done and following our success at Doncaster it is likely that our opponents will increase the pressure.
What can I do?
Head of Communications (EUARK and FBH)