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  • Faye Da Costa

FBH Response to Channel 4 Program – Exotic Pet Trade – Exposed: UNTOLD

The FBH is disappointed to see the biased nature of the recent Channel 4 documentary regarding exotic pets, which included false information and a failure to attain balanced research. The IHS was not consulted during the making of the program, and were only given an opportunity to respond after it was made. The FBH who represents the IHS and all reptile keepers in the UK responded with the letter below.

This event, and other similar events ran by the IHS are completely legal under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) Regulations 2018, with council inspectors welcomed to attend.

Misleading ‘facts’ quoted in the program such as ‘75% of reptile die in the first year’, is false and has been thoroughly debunked. This misinformation is often quoted by activists who would want to put an end to the keeping of all animals to shock the public and have no proven basis.

The FBH will be putting together a complaint to Channel 4 to emphasise our dissatisfaction with the reporting and encourages anyone interested in fighting for the rights of keepers to do the same.

Key points from the FBH response letter:

· Reptiles and amphibians are the fourth most commonly kept group of companion animals in the UK, with numbers only exceeded by fish, cats and dogs.

· It is disappointing that you did not contact the IHS directly ahead of filming, or ask them to provide their input into the documentary.

· Given the above and the late request for any opposing view or input from the IHS it seems like the documentary has been put together with a preconceived agenda and will not reflect a fair and balanced position around reptiles and amphibians or the IHS meeting.

· The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) Regulations 2018 make it clear that such events are lawful.

· The IHS, in agreement with the local council, had two vets present on the day of the event, both of which were specialist reptile vets. Given that these vets have a much better understanding of the situation and arrangements at the shows, the FBH questions why you would not ask the input of these vets in regard to the welfare of animals at the event.

· The tubs that contain animals are temporary travel arrangements, and are akin to a cat travel box rather than an enclosure to provide long term housing. These containers provide maximum security to prevent escape and protection from injury for the animal during travelling.

· Disappointment at the very biased tone in your letter relating to the content of your documentary, the close alignment of your wording to that of animal rights campaigners which suggests weak investigative journalism, and the late invitation to the IHS to provide their views and responses.


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