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Row over reptile show as breeders and animal rights group clash
9:50am Friday 25th May 2012 in News
A REPTILE show set for Walton Hall on Sunday was cancelled due to an 11th hour intervention from an animal rights group.
But organisers say they are now considering taking legal action against the council for their losses which could run into four figures.
The bosses say they booked the show, which sees breeders sell reptiles such as snakes, frogs and spiders, in January.
It was cancelled last Tuesday after officers at Warrington Borough Council spoke to the Animal Protection Agency – a group which says the activity is illegal.
Dave Hogg runs Reptile World in Widnes and was the chief organiser.
He claims the show is not illegal and that by calling it off, the council was actually doing more damage to animal welfare.
He said: “They have taken the decision without checking the facts or checking with the people with experience.
“All these animals are bred by breeders. They are not being taken from their natural environment and being brought into this country.
“If these shows keep getting cancelled then we will go back 15 years to when people were trading in car parks from the back of their cars.”
He said he had already spent ‘a couple of thousand of pounds’ on the event and that even more could be lost in expected sales.
But Elaine Toland, director of the Animal Protection Agency, praised the council. A similar show in London was also called off last week.
She said: “We will hopefully see an end to illegal animal trafficking via these disturbing events as more councils, like Warrington, take responsible, preventative action.
“Exotic pet markets have been likened to large jumble sales but instead of old clothes, frightened wild animals in small, plastic tubs are on offer.”
A spokesman for the council confirmed the event had been cancelled.