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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

Reptile dealers on the run: Animal market goes underground

Plans by Essex Reptile and Amphibian Club to stage an underground animal market in the area are being closely monitored by IAR's campaigning partners the Animal Protection Agency.

Last week, Brentwood Borough Council and Shenfield High School disallowed a reptile market that would have taken place at the school on Sunday 27 September 2009. In response to this, an event organiser posted a message on an Internet forum stating that the event on 27 September 'will take place as expected' but went on to say that the new venue would not be disclosed until Friday 25 September at 6pm (outside of council hours). The organiser claimed that the 'relevant authorities are aware of the event and are satisfied that it fully complies with the law.' However, no local council in Essex is aware of the event's whereabouts although all are now on high alert. The Animal Protection Agency has appealed for any information that may be useful and can be contacted on 01273 674253.

Said Animal Protection Agency spokesperson, Elaine Toland:

"Venues such as leisure facilities, community centres or working men's clubs and other publicly-frequented sites may have been approached. Organisers may have described the event, misleadingly, as a 'breeders meeting' rather than as a commercial market. We would like to hear of any such approach.

"If the market organisers manage to get away with staging their event then they, along with the venue manager, may face prosecution. We will have evidence gatherers at the event recording criminal transactions that take place."

The concern of animal protection groups is that the poor facilities and husbandry at these markets puts the animals under particularly serious stress. This is why the selling of pets at markets was outlawed under Section 2 of the Pet Animals Act 1951. The human health threats associated with these events are also significant, especially at venues used by vulnerable groups, such as young children or the elderly, or where food and drink is consumed.

The Animal Protection Agency is an organisation focused on ceasing the trade in wild animals as pets. They work closely with International Animal Rescue, which is dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of suffering animals all over the world.

For more background information or for pictures, please contact Elaine Toland on 01273 674253 / 07986 535024.