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Brief History of the FBH
The idea of an organization to promote & support the responsible keeping etc of reptiles & amphibians was first suggested in the early 1990’s following the activities of an animal rights group (the Reptile Protection Trust) whose aims were clearly to disrupt the legitimate activities of others. At this time, however, there was little support for the idea.
Towards the end of the 1990’s views changed as the activists were proving much more troublesome, and following various meetings of individuals, clubs and the trade, the FBH was formed in 1997 with a small committee of just 3 people. Certain fund-raising activities were started and were moderately successful.
Apathy was still a major issue with reptile keepers in general; however, most believing that the situation would carry on without change. This view prevailed until Easter 2000 when action by an organization called the Captive Animal Protection Society caused the last minute cancellation of an International Herpetological
Society’s reptile breeders meeting in Kent. CAPS managed to convince the local authority that the risks from catching salmonella were so great, that the breeders meeting should be cancelled.
After that, many other reptile breeders meetings up & down the UK have suffered the same fate thanks to CAPS and other far more aggressive groups including the APA and Animal Aid
Both of these organizations were aided & abetted by a certain Clifford Warwick! For those who are not aware of Mr Warwick, he was/is the Animal Aid/ CAPS and currently the APAs supposed expert. Unfortunately we cannot trace how he has got the qualifications to back his extremist claims! Needless to say, the cancellation of the Kent breeders meeting galvanized more people into action, and a meeting of representatives from the clubs, the trade & individuals met at a hotel near London to find a way forward. The FBH was re-born in May 2000!
There is much more to do if we are to save our hobby and/ or livelihood. We fully accept the need for proper legislation that seeks to protect the wellbeing of reptiles & amphibians. Any changes, however, must be carefully thought through before Government imposes them upon ordinary individuals. The current “lottery” when it comes to local authorities issuing (or not) Pet Shop & Dangerous Wild Animals Act licences must come to an end. Equally inspecting authorities, whoever they may be, must have proper experience/qualifications to do the job in hand. The activities on the very vocal animal rights groups need to be curtailed & these people exposed for what they are. We need to ensure that the average reptile or amphibian keeper is fully aware of the threats to their hobby, and enlist their support by joining a reptile club/society. It is critically important to be able to raise sufficient funds to enable our work to continue.
Complacency is no longer an option!
Who are the APA?
The Animal Protection Agency is actually two organisations using two similar names and headed by the same person, Elaine Tolland. They are: -
Animal Protection Agency Limited - Company No 5180872
Animal Protection Agency Foundation - Company No 6371987 - Registered Charity No 1123569
Why do they threaten your pet keeping hobby?
In order for the APA to continue they need a cause. They need to undertake campaigns in order to receive continued financial support from their supporters. Somebody has to pay Elaine Tolland's considerable salary and the reptile trade is an easy target. APA continually describe legal and legitimate reptile shows as 'wildlife markets'. This phrase will understandably annoy a naive general public and gain support; in reality almost all animals offered for sale are captive bred. Ironically many of the selectively bred animals (morphs) in the hobby have a colouration which would mean their chances of survival would be seriously reduced if found in the wild. The APA produce very professional looking literature and this propaganda is then sent to local councils claiming that illegal trading is taking place, that the public is at risk from various health threats in order to stop private breeders meetings. Unfortunately some local councils have been taken in by these questionable tactics and have stopped breeders meeting together to allow the sale of their surplus animals. Chris Newman, chairman of the FBH (Federation of British Herpetologists) has written to Elaine Tolland consistently for the last ten years inviting her to such events so that her concerns can be discussed and alleviated, however to date, she has never taken up any of these invitations.
Both reptile keepers and people associated with venues where shows have been held have been subjected to harassment and even death threats. It is widely believed that APA members and supporters are behind these threats.
The most recent example of the APA trying to dupe the public was a campaign partnered with the cosmetics firm Lush. The APA produced a number of leaflets given to the general public inciting that pet keepers were irresponsible, did not understand the needs of their pets and that pet keepers were contributing to the decline in wildlife. Complaints were made to the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) about the claims made by the APA and Lush Cosmetics. The ASA rejected just two complaints, but of a total of eight complaints they upheld no less than six, all on the grounds of statements made by APA being untrue. The ASA also noted that APA and Lush provided no scientific evidence in their claims, merely the results of 'surveys'. This is actual evidence of how they try and dupe the general public with unfounded claims into handing over their hard earned cash to further their jobs and careers. The ASA also noted that these leaflets were asking for donations.
Why should I care?
Do you want to continue keeping exotic pets? If the answer is yes, you need to understand that if the APA were successful in stopping private breeders meetings going ahead then they would almost certainly target reptile shops next. Elaine Tolland openly admitted on the BBC Inside out program in 2012 –[that her long term plan was to ban the trade and keeping of reptiles as pets. The general public does not have a great love of reptile keeping and the untruths spread by these animal rights fanatics could very easily sway the general public’s opinion. This could result in a reduced or even complete ban in the trade of certain captive bred species. Your hobby will suffer as a result. Ask yourself, do you want your hobby threatened by a group of people who show no honesty when it comes to reptile keeping? Few people seem to understand how significant this threat is.
What can I do to support my hobby?
Many people want to help. Many people have ideas. But everyone seems to agree that the whole reptile keeping community needs to unite. The Federation of British Herpetologists and REPTA (Reptile and Exotic Pet Trade Association) currently fight all legal battles regarding reptile shows. Donate to the FBH fighting fund. This money is used to pay the legal bills associated with keeping our shows going. If you do this, you will make a very quick and tangible impact with helping to protect our hobby. At the FBH conference held at the Doncaster Dome on Saturday 16th June 2012 it was suggested that the battle will actually be fought in the European courts as REPTA and the FBH have so far managed to defend the hobby well in the UK. But if changes are made to European law, all of this sterling work could be quickly undone. It is for that reason that money needs to be raised, so donations from likeminded keepers are needed now!
We believe far too few reptile and exotic pet keepers understand the threat their hobby is under. We believe far too few people even know who the animal rights activists who are threatening our hobby are. This thread is not designed to give the opposition more publicity, but to educate the reptile keeping community who are currently unaware of the problem.