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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The Scottish Government has published a a review on the keeping of exotic animals*

You can find the details here: Exotic pets - Scottish Animal Welfare Commission: interim report

Irrespective of whether you live in Scotland or not I would urge you to respond to this (email address in the link) expressing your concerns. Remember, it is not just the actual keeping of the animals they need to consider but the entire supply chain such as breeders of live and frozen food, manufacturers, retailers, couriers, importers, exporters, vets and everything in between. Also, think about the less obvious impacts such as those who live alone and their only company is in the form of a little budgie or canary. Or the autistic child who finds it difficult to interact with other kids yet is able to seek comfort from his or her rabbit or guinea pig. Or what about the individual who is struggling mentally but is able to find comfort in the fish he or she keeps?

For those in Scotland I would urge you to not only reply to this committee directly but to write or seek an audience with your local MSP.

To be clear, I (as I am sure everyone is) am all for improving animal welfare standards but not by creating a positive list which is something the committee is looking at as part for this review.

This review is specific for Scotland at the moment but you can be sure, once the animal rights groups have their way with us - they will move onto Wales, NI and England too. United we stand, divided we will surely fall.

*the term exotic, as far as this review is concerned relates to any species other than a dog or cat so commonly kept animals such as goldfish, rabbits and budgies would / could all be banned.
 

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Lots of worrying terminology and seems heavily weighted in quotes from AR groups, such as APA, WAP and Eurogroup with very little input from those that are supposed to be representing us. I disagree with many of the statements in there, but we have to be willing to acknowledge where our hobbies fail the animals and how best we can make changes to improve things. If we, as a collective, offer solutions to each concern, then I would like to think it would lessen the risk of a positive list.

What sort of contact do the different sectors (OATA, REPTA/FBH, Parrot UK, Etc) have with each other? I'd like to think there would be a coordinated efoort between all sectors to push government, rather than each sector sticking to itself and ignoring the plight of others?
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Lots of worrying terminology and seems heavily weighted in quotes from AR groups, such as APA, WAP and Eurogroup with very little input from those that are supposed to be representing us. I disagree with many of the statements in there, but we have to be willing to acknowledge where our hobbies fail the animals and how best we can make changes to improve things. If we, as a collective, offer solutions to each concern, then I would like to think it would lessen the risk of a positive list.

What sort of contact do the different sectors (OATA, REPTA/FBH, Parrot UK, Etc) have with each other? I'd like to think there would be a coordinated efoort between all sectors to push government, rather than each sector sticking to itself and ignoring the plight of others?
I am not sure to be honest what other organisations have done, are or will be doing. I am tired of trying to engage with these different groups and bending to their specific agendas. I represent me, myself and I - nobody else and any views, opinions or suggestions I provide are my own. I have tried my best to highlight this as far and wide as I can - if people choose to do something positive to help then great, if not then that is up to them.

I was involved at the outset and will be providing a response in writing to the committee ahead of a face to face (or via zoom) meeting with them. I also have a meeting next week with my local MSP to try and gain her support.

Out of 124 views, you are the only person to respond Tarron.
 

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Out of 124 views, you are the only person to respond Tarron.
Maybe because people might be under the belief that it either doesn't affect them, or that they have heard similar things over the years yet here we are still breeding and keeping reptiles...

I appreciate your efforts in bringing this to our attention... but I wonder if the IHS and BHS really should be the ones to champion this cause, especially as the latter have experience of the courts and the like when PETA were lobbying the banning of all the shows...

We could campaign all we like, and there will be a high majority of keepers that, like me, have a good track record of 20, 25, 30 or more years keeping these snakes and have never had an escapee or done anything to bring the hobby into disrepute... but there are those, who through the media (could even be classed as exploited by the media) show bad practices or husbandry and its those which these governing bodies take note of.

The thing is that in the past when it comes to impacting the pet trade not a lot has got done as the government stand to loose a huge amount of taxes. From VAT, through to corporate taxes, the impact would be widely felt.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Maybe because people might be under the belief that it either doesn't affect them, or that they have heard similar things over the years yet here we are still breeding and keeping reptiles...

I appreciate your efforts in bringing this to our attention... but I wonder if the IHS and BHS really should be the ones to champion this cause, especially as the latter have experience of the courts and the like when PETA were lobbying the banning of all the shows...

We could campaign all we like, and there will be a high majority of keepers that, like me, have a good track record of 20, 25, 30 or more years keeping these snakes and have never had an escapee or done anything to bring the hobby into disrepute... but there are those, who through the media (could even be classed as exploited by the media) show bad practices or husbandry and its those which these governing bodies take note of.

The thing is that in the past when it comes to impacting the pet trade not a lot has got done as the government stand to loose a huge amount of taxes. From VAT, through to corporate taxes, the impact would be widely felt.
People are right, it doesn't impact them - until it does.

The hobby is only as good as its lowest common denominator and it is as you say, these people that seem to be in the media spotlight continuously - when was that last time reptiles were painted in a positive light?

Like I said above, whether these organisations choose to comment is up to them and their members.

I bet the Belgian keepers thought it would never happen and yet they are now restricted to keeping a handful of species by way of a positive list - if you read the review, this is something the committee seem pretty keen on.
 

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I haven't read the whole document but the interim conclusions seem a bit sparse and it's not clear whether the focus is animal welfare or dangerous animals.

Not greatly enamoured with positive lists, but then again it has felt as though - viewed over decades - the animal importers shift to new sources - presumably (I don't know!) as animals become more difficult to obtain in the original areas. Not completely sure how I feel about that: I don't like the thought of the wild being asset-stripped for the sake of private collectors. And I daresay many captive animals end up dying without progeny... but against that the fact is the average lifespan in the wild may be a lot lower anyway. I guess "a balanced approach is key" and the indigenous country ought to be policing the trade, but maybe that's unrealistic. So, needs further thought.

Some of the recommendations border on the bizarre:

"Transitional arrangements in the form of “grandfather provisions” could be agreed, to allow prohibited animals already in private ownership to be kept until they die, but not bred or otherwise replaced."

That makes no sense at all, they might as well all be put down imho (well maybe not but you get my point). If they are already in captivity let/encourage them to breed! But I tend to view things from the wildlife preservation viewpoint...

Also it's not clear how the list would be updated - if at all - as they seem to have a problem with the notion that lists like this need maintenance.

Yet elsewhere they are only too willing to be bureaucratic - here's the interim conclusion on licencing:

"Listing could form part of a multi-tier licensing approach, with a type of general licence to cover those animals listed as suitable for private keeping, and more specific licences available, when appropriate, for more experienced keepers with the knowledge and facilities to provide adequately for animals with more complex needs."

Who will decide who is eligible for which animal? I'd expect that to become a lottery (I once asked about DWA licences in Borehamwood, got a flat "no", the stuffed shirt didn't even allow a discussion.)

I can't see why the DWA isn't enough (just add more to the list if you think pythons and boas should be on it... poisonous snakes presumably already are). If they ban really dangerous animals outright - I find it hard to be sympathetic to the keepers - why should "private collectors" be able to keep animals that potentially endanger human life should they escape (but then again, that ought to be covered by the DWA too)?

Other recommendations didn't seem too bad: vets should be trained, keepers should be competent and so on. But even there they are on a sticky wicket: even trained vets won't necessarily know all about a wild animal (but a canny keeper with good observational skills may) - same for trained zoo keepers. So I'd be a bit concerned about how this licencing system will work and who will police it. That might well be a role for interested organisations.
 

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One other thing: back in the sixties greek and hermann's tortoises used to be imported for the pet trade in what we were told were extremely poor conditions (I remember seeing them literally piled up in a pet show window so I can vouch for that). Most of them surely died as otherwise we'd be over-run by now.
There was eventually a kick back and they became subject to controls. So again - doesn't machinery already exist to cover the sorts of issues that this report is aiming at?
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I haven't read the whole document but the interim conclusions seem a bit sparse and it's not clear whether the focus is animal welfare or dangerous animals.

Not greatly enamoured with positive lists, but then again it has felt as though - viewed over decades - the animal importers shift to new sources - presumably (I don't know!) as animals become more difficult to obtain in the original areas. Not completely sure how I feel about that: I don't like the thought of the wild being asset-stripped for the sake of private collectors. And I daresay many captive animals end up dying without progeny... but against that the fact is the average lifespan in the wild may be a lot lower anyway. I guess "a balanced approach is key" and the indigenous country ought to be policing the trade, but maybe that's unrealistic. So, needs further thought.

Some of the recommendations border on the bizarre:

"Transitional arrangements in the form of “grandfather provisions” could be agreed, to allow prohibited animals already in private ownership to be kept until they die, but not bred or otherwise replaced."

That makes no sense at all, they might as well all be put down imho (well maybe not but you get my point). If they are already in captivity let/encourage them to breed! But I tend to view things from the wildlife preservation viewpoint...

Also it's not clear how the list would be updated - if at all - as they seem to have a problem with the notion that lists like this need maintenance.

Yet elsewhere they are only too willing to be bureaucratic - here's the interim conclusion on licencing:

"Listing could form part of a multi-tier licensing approach, with a type of general licence to cover those animals listed as suitable for private keeping, and more specific licences available, when appropriate, for more experienced keepers with the knowledge and facilities to provide adequately for animals with more complex needs."

Who will decide who is eligible for which animal? I'd expect that to become a lottery (I once asked about DWA licences in Borehamwood, got a flat "no", the stuffed shirt didn't even allow a discussion.)

I can't see why the DWA isn't enough (just add more to the list if you think pythons and boas should be on it... poisonous snakes presumably already are). If they ban really dangerous animals outright - I find it hard to be sympathetic to the keepers - why should "private collectors" be able to keep animals that potentially endanger human life should they escape (but then again, that ought to be covered by the DWA too)?

Other recommendations didn't seem too bad: vets should be trained, keepers should be competent and so on. But even there they are on a sticky wicket: even trained vets won't necessarily know all about a wild animal (but a canny keeper with good observational skills may) - same for trained zoo keepers. So I'd be a bit concerned about how this licencing system will work and who will police it. That might well be a role for interested organisations.
I think you have hit the nail on the head - they are keen to do something to improve animal welfare standards (which we all are) yet the reality is that implementation, maintenance and policing are still up in the air.

My fear is they look at the current issue and think french connection UK it, lets draw up a list of species that can be kept (a positive list) everything else will be prohibited, chances are it will be the SSPCA that police it unless someone else steps forward.
 

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I read the report and sent them an email with my concerns as a keeper. I'll also contact my MSP. I think we all want better welfare for animals, but better welfare isn't a list, banned species, or orgs like the blue cross/SPCA setting the rules. The SPCA person who inspected my house and viv setup for the boa constrictor we took from them admitted he didn't even know anything about snakes. But these are the people listened to by government!
 
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