3rd August 2023

The International Herpetological Society (IHS) has recently been forced to find a new venue to hold their biannual reptile and exotic animal trading market, after the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes pulled out and cancelled the event. 

Freedom for Animals has been working alongside our friends at Animal Protection Agency and World Animal Protection to end the cruel trading of live reptiles and exotic animals at IHS shows, and other similarly exploitative events, so we welcomed the news that the Marshall Arena has taken this important step and ceased their involvement in such a damaging event. Due to a confidentiality agreement being signed by the event organisers and the venue, we are not able to comment on the detailed reasons for this decision, but animal protection charities have been working tirelessly to ensure cruel events such as this have no place anywhere in our society. 

These trading events present significant welfare issues to reptiles and amphibians, who suffer serious stress as a result of the forced transportation and handling required at shows. Many of these animals are contained in tiny, barren containers with no room to stretch or move around freely. The inappropriate lighting, temperatures, heightened noise, vibrations and lack of refuge alongside the increased handling and interaction from event attendees creates an incredibly stressful environment for extremely sensitive animals. The international trade in reptiles and amphibians for markets such as this involves taking animals from the wild, which can be devastating to wild populations.

Since the Milton Keynes cancellation, the IHS has recently announced their signing of a new contract with another venue in Rotherham - the Magna Science Adventure Centre. We urge this venue to do the right thing and cancel the hosting of this event too. We will update you on further developments regarding this change in due course.

Freedom for Animals, alongside our animal protection colleagues, are calling for venues to reject the allowance of exploitative events such as IHS markets from taking place in the future, and commit to an animal-free policy moving forward. We recently brought you the news of a monthly reptile handling event at Lancashire Wildlife Trust being cancelled, and are hopeful that this is part of a wider societal shift away from the toleration of reptile cruelty.

It’s 2023; and in this day and age it is unacceptable that animals are continuing to be traded and exploited for profit. As a so-called civilised society we must do better to protect animals and their natural ecosystems from harm.