Animal Aid

REPTILE EXHIBITION SLAMMED - Inadequate, deficient, naive

Posted 1 May 2003
This girl, like many 
        other children, was encouraged to touch the reptiles. We have film of 
        other children who handled reptiles, some of whom received no anti-bacterial 
        spray. In any case, experts say this would have provided inadequate protection 
        against salmonella under the circumstances at the zoo.

Gloucester City Council, which allowed a reptile exhibition on Gloucester Docks over the Easter bank holiday, has met with severe criticism from animal protection groups and their scientific advisors. Animal Aid and the Captive Animals' Protection Society have concluded that, in the interests of animal welfare and public health, the event should not have been permitted.

Both groups visited the event and described provisions for the animals as inadequate and measures to safeguard public health as grossly deficient. Evidence was presented to The BioVeterinary Group (BVG) - an independent consultancy with specialists in reptile welfare and conservation and exotic animal zoonoses. The BVG advised that 'no cage was adequate for the provision of reptilian behavioural needs' and went further to state that the basic enclosures even took many zoo practices back decades.

Although attempts were made by the organisers to protect public health, the BVG described these measures as 'naïve'. The risks to the public from reptile-related salmonellosis were compounded by the reptile-handling sessions. Animal Aid filmed adults and, sometimes, very young children touching the animals but then not being offered the disinfectant spray, which would anyway have provided them with only minimal protection.

Following this temporary exhibition, the organisers may apply for permission for a permanent zoo. Animal Aid has made their scientific report available to the Council and has vowed to oppose potential plans for a reptile zoo every step of the way.

  • Please write to Gloucester City Council and ask them to refuse any application for a zoo licence. Write to Gill Ragon, Principal Environmental Health Officer, Environmental Health, Herbert Warehouse, The Docks, Gloucester GL1 2EQ

  • Please also write to the South West Regional Development Agency who have so far been very supportive of the project and may be considering giving further support to ensure that the exhibition becomes permanent. Write to Ian Piper, Head of Regeneration, South West of England Regional Development Agency, Corporate Headquarters, Sterling House, Dix's Field, Exeter EX1 1QA

  • Keep in touch with our ongoing campaign against the trade in reptiles.

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