Complaint lodged with the BC SPCA after local animal advocate witnesses “inhumane care” of reptiles at Tour de Rock fundraiser.
“There is reason to be concerned anytime people are exploiting animals, but with reptiles you just know that you’re going to find dozens of animals in tiny containers on display for people to objectify for the novelty. These individuals are not pets though and should not be promoted as such.”
What Reichert found was exactly what he expected. Row upon row of geckos, spiders, snakes, and other reptiles in empty take-out containers. Among the many animals that were on display or being sold was a wild-caught chameleon from Madagascar used for breeding purposes (Pictured in cover image). When inquiring about how this one was acquired he was told to be careful if trying to import one as there is a lot of paperwork and that they usually arrived in really rough shape.
Adults and children were also able to frequently touch and handle the geckos, chameleons, and snakes with little regard for the reptiles comfort or well-being. When people were done with them they were just put back inside their tiny plastic containers, often trying to escape in the process.
The BC SPCA has an article called Reptiles as pets: Five common misconceptions which outlines the misinformation provided to people purchasing a reptile by the breeders or pet stores. Furthermore, they are specifically opposed to the “keeping, breeding, selling, or trafficking exotic wild animals.”
The event was in part a fundraiser for the Tour de Rock with proceeds from the food sales being donated to the organization.
Reichert says that what we need is a province wide ban on the sale of exotics species and of reptiles in general.
“We have an overwhelming number of unwanted animals across B.C. as well as significant animal cruelty, and a great deal of this is due to breeders continuing to pump out animals as commodities to turn a profit. These industries are essentially unregulated whether it is dogs and cats, or reptiles and the only way to deal with this humanely is to stop the production and sale of these animals.”
Reichert plans to approach Victoria city council on proposing a ban on the sale and exhibition of reptiles in Victoria. A ban on travelling shows using exotic species was recently passed in Toronto.
Victoria Animal News