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  • Faye Da Costa

Import Legislation Changes - Call for Action

An important message for all keepers of reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, and potentially other species that are currently imported into the UK from the EU.

Please share this everywhere, we have to act now to protect our rights as keepers.

The government are about to pass a law in which there is legislation that changes the terms that we are allowed to import all live animals from 31st October 2023. Currently reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates are categorised as LOW risk due to lack of any evidence of diseases being imported with these animals. However, the government is now going to designate all live animals as HIGH risk, and have offered no explanation as to why reptiles and amphibians are now to be classed as high risk, with no new diseases associated with reptiles having been documented.

Presently, anyone can import live pet reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates as an individual only requiring a self certified health declaration, as outlined in this document:

This new legislation would require that all live animals need a state issued veterinary certificate and to be registered with the IPAFFS system, as outlined in this document:

This will make it incredibly difficult for individuals to bring back their pet reptiles, as it is not clear how they would get a state issued certificate and currently only businesses have access to register with the IPAFFS system.

It will heavily detriment those who are keeping and breeding endangered species as new genetic lines will be harder to obtain and may potentially reduce the diversity of species in the UK, which the FBH believes is a wonderful aspect of our hobby.

The FBH is calling for all keepers who would like to fight back against this ridiculous proposal to write to their MP using the draft letter below to raise the issue with DEFRA and in parliament. We have been left with a very short time frame, as the new legislation guidance was updated on 25th May 2023, and MPs will go into summer recess in only a few weeks, which doesn’t leave much time for them to question the legislation before it is passed at the end of October.

We are asking you to help us lobby quickly and fight for our rights as keepers.

Please use the template below and change as appropriate, you can add your own opinion and how it will affect you personally.

You can find out who your MP is using this link

Dear (your MP) As a hobbyist/pet keeper/breeder of reptiles/amphibians/invertebrates I have been made aware of a new law and legislation that will negatively impact my hobby and keeping. From what I understand a new piece of law is about to be passed and within it, DEFRA have buried a piece of legislation that will unnecessarily increase the requirements to import reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates from the EU into the UK.

Currently myself and others are able to bring these animals into the UK with just a self certified health declaration and this has been the case before and since Brexit, as outlined in this document:

However, this new legislation is now moving reptiles from LOW risk to HIGH risk with no evidence to prove why. To import their animals, private keepers and pet owners will require a state issued veterinary certificate, of which obtaining one appears to be a very complicated and unclear process, and will also register the animals with a system only used by businesses, IPAFFS.

To import reptiles and amphibians a self-certified health declaration has all that has been required, both before and after Brexit. The government’s own empirical data shows not a single incident of animal or human health compromise as a result of hundreds of thousands of imports as Low Risk and over 50 years of indisputable data has shown no issues caused whatsoever. Yet the DEFRA civil servants and veterinarians have arbitrarily moved these animal taxa from Low Risk to High Risk but cannot provide any evidence to support that move.

The UK reptile and amphibian keeping hobby celebrates the diversity of species, including many endangered, kept and bred here and supports efforts in conservation and it brings joy to millions of households. This will negatively effect myself, other keepers, and potentially the entire future of the hobby because it makes the process of bringing new animals and bloodlines into the UK incredibly complicated for private keepers. It will detrimental effect breeding programs of endangered species if breeders cannot access genetically diverse stock, and appears to be a bureaucratic restriction without any evidence, or concern for people like myself.

I am aware MPs will go on recess in 2-3 weeks I am concerned that there is not much time to waste in trying to tackle this unnecessary legislation before it becomes law on 31st October 2023 and I kindly ask that you bring these issues to the attention of DEFRA and parliament.

Kind regards, (Your full name and address)


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