What is the FBH?
The “Mission Statement” of the FBH is quite simple. It exists to promote and support the responsible keeping of reptiles & amphibians by individuals in the UK. Our “Aims & Objectives” are equally simple:
· To represent the legitimate interests of UK reptile keepers at national level.
· To oppose unwelcome regulation/ legislation.
· To manage a national information base of key facts/ issues/ statistics relating to reptile & amphibian keeping.
· To create & maintain a strong positive image for private reptile keeping.
Our Goals & Objectives
Our goals & objectives are as follows;
Brief History of the FBH
The idea of an organization to promote & support the responsible keeping etc of reptiles & amphibians was first suggested in the early 1990’s following the activities of an animal rights group (the Reptile Protection Trust) who’s aims were clearly to disrupt the legitimate activities of others. At this time, however, there was little support for the idea.
Towards the end of the 1990’s views changed as the activists were proving much more troublesome, and following various meetings of individuals, clubs and the trade, the FBH was formed in 1997 with a small committee of just 3 people. Certain fund-raising activities were started and were moderately successful.
Apathy was still a major issue with reptile keepers in general, however, most believing that the situation would carry on without change. This view prevailed until Easter 2000 when action by an organization called the Captive Animal Protection Society caused the last minute cancellation of an International Herpetological Society’s reptile breeders meeting in Kent. CAPS managed to convince the local authority that the risks from catching salmonella were so great, the breeders meeting should be cancelled.
After that, many other reptile breeders meetings up & down the UK have suffered the same fate thanks to CAPS and another far more aggressive group, Animal Aid. Both of these organizations wereaided & abetted by a certain Clifford Warwick! For those who are not aware of Mr Warwick, he was/is the Animal Aid/ CAPS supposed expert. Unfortunately we cannot trace how he has got the qualifications to back his extremist claims! Needless to say, the cancellation of the Kent breeders meeting galvanized more people into action, and a meeting of representatives from the clubs, the trade & individuals met at a hotel near London to find a way forward. The FBH was re-born in May 2000!
Our past success
What have we done so far?
· We have repeatedly attacked the RSPCA for their one sided approach with the media & have successfully “hijacked” a radio interview which was intended to show that reptiles should not be kept in captivity. Many of their “anti reptile” publications have been publicly exposed as being totally inaccurate.
· We have assisted private keepers who have experienced unlawful seizures of animals from their homes.
· We managed to get a few reptile breeders meetings up and running in the early 2000’s despite the frantic activities of the animal rights groups in trying to prevent these events from taking place.
· We have devised in conjunction with interested parties, Codes of Conduct & Customer Charters.
· We have produced a set of rules for Private Breeders Meeting which are updated as and when required
· In 2009 we have again defeated the animal rights groups in their attempts to prevent FOUR perfectly legitimate & legal “Breeders Meeting” from taking place.
There is much more to do if we are to save our hobby and/ or livelihood. 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. 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. The activities on the very vocal animal rights groups need to be curtailed & these people exposed for what they are. We need to ensure that the average reptile or amphibian keeper is fully aware of the threats to their hobby, and enlist their support. It is critically important to be able to raise sufficient funds to enable our work to continue. Complacency is no longer an option, witness the new attacks on Breeders Meetings this year. We also need to work more closely with similar groups in mainland Europe & elsewhere.