Peter Kemple Hardy, Wildlife Campaign Manager, said: “It beggars belief that whilst the UK still struggles under lockdown restrictions that were imposed following a global pandemic that originated in the wildlife trade, we face the unwelcome prospect of the return of a market selling wild animals. Reptiles are complex creatures that feel fear and pain. They are wild animals and belong in the wild – not stuffed into plastic boxes to be flogged from market stalls."
Organisers, the International Herpetological Society, have communicated to members they will seek to find the earliest opportunity after lockdown is lifted to reopen their doors.
Animals trapped for hours
At Doncaster reptile show, usually held four times a year at Doncaster racecourse, hundreds of UK reptile breeders meet to sell captive-bred snakes, lizards and tortoises to the public. Thousands of animals are trapped for hours in cramped, stressful conditions that cause immense suffering. The events have been on hold since lockdown began.
Research, and minimum care guidance state that Ball pythons, one of the most popular exotic pets in the UK, need space to fully stretch their bodies to avoid stress and pain. However, at the event, snakes were found crammed into tiny display cases, plastic storage boxes (‘Really Useful Boxes’) and even Tupperware and takeaway boxes.
Minimum care guidance advises that these solitary, nocturnal animals need shelter for them to hide and enrichment such as branches for them to climb. However, at the event they were handled and exposed to bright light and loud noise, which is another major cause of concern.