Fair sale of live reptiles removed from Doncaster Racecourse after animal rights complaints

A well-known reptile fair held at Doncaster Racecourse will not return after June this year.

The International Herpetological Society (IHS) has held its annual Reptile Fair at Doncaster Racecourse for almost 20 years. But, from June this year, the fair will no longer be welcome to return to the South Yorkshire site, following a campaign by animal rights campaigners.

The IHS Reptile Fair takes place four times a year, in April, June, September and November, and attendees can purchase live reptiles and amphibians such as snakes, frogs and geckos. The show has recently drawn criticism for featuring live animals for sale in small plastic bins.

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But following a campaign by animal rights group the Animal Protection Agency (APA), the IHS has announced that the Reptile Fair will not be returning to Doncaster Racecourse at the coming. The fair’s final appearance will be its June show, which takes place on Sunday, June 19.

IHS event organizer Richard Brook said: “Our contracts with Doncaster Racecourse expire with the June show this year, and the racecourse has been instructed (we believe by the Mayor of the Council of Doncaster) not to accept any further bookings from the International Herpetological Society.This is due to a campaign of harassment of the Racecourse and Doncaster Council by animal rights activists.



Snakes can be seen in small boxes at one of the shows

“While it saddens the International Society of Herpetology to leave Doncaster after nearly two decades, this is solely due to the bullying of businesses by an animal rights extremist. Details of the venue for the September breeders’ meeting as well that a full account of events will be announced in due course.”

Councilor David Shaw, chairman of Doncaster Council’s licensing committee, welcomed the decision to end the fair. Posting on Twitter, he said: “Tonight we have great news that after the June event, #Doncaster will no longer be the last place in the UK hosting UK #reptile fairs. @DoncasterRaces and @mydoncaster absolutely made the right decision.

“Hopefully we will see the end forever of animals being sold in takeaway containers for profit in the UK. Great gratitude must go to @apawild for their tireless and professional approach. Without them this wouldn’t be possible. “

Dan Swaine, Director of Economy and Environment, said: “Doncaster Council takes the issue of animal health and welfare seriously and alongside our legal obligations we have also adopted a motion banning animal prizes on council owned land In regards to the IHS event, we have had ongoing discussions with racecourse management to understand their longer term vision and position on such events and we have been informed that they will no longer be hosting IHS events after their contractual obligations end in June 2022.”

However, Mr Swaine added that the event has always been subject to a council animal health team and veterinary scrutiny, to ensure that all IHS fairs comply with health and welfare requirements. to be animals.

He added: “Furthermore, it is important to understand that the event, in and of itself, is legal and in accordance with the legislation. When breaches of the law are found/identified, we take legal action and a number cases are currently being investigated by our Regulatory and Enforcement team and we will seek to use all available legal powers to ensure compliance.

“In addition, to ensure that welfare requirements are met, the Doncaster Council animal health team and a Council employed vet visit all IHS events in Doncaster and work closely with the organizers. to ensure that all participants comply with animal health and welfare requirements. In the event of contraventions being identified, we provide and will continue to provide advice/guidance and pursue legal action.”

The news that the IHS fair will not be returning to Doncaster has been greeted with joy by animal rights activists both locally and internationally. The Born Free Foundation, the international wildlife charity founded by Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers – stars of the 1966 film of the same name – is one such organization to have welcomed the news.

A spokesman for the foundation said: “Born Free is delighted with the decision of Doncaster Council to no longer allow the International Herpetological Society (IHS) to hold its Reptile Fair at Doncaster Racecourse once contractual obligations completed in June this year. It is hoped that such activities are now relegated to the past where they belong.

“While the IHS claims to exist to promote reptile and amphibian care and research, they fail to recognize how harmful their events, which occur four times a year, are to wildlife. between them will soon be recognized as sentient beings, which can experience pain, fear and distress, according to British law.

“During their events, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates are kept in stressful conditions, often confined to ‘takeout containers’ without sufficient water or shelter. The captive breeding of exotic animals by hobbyists in order to whip them as commodities has no place in today’s society.”

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