Cruel reptile show strikes again

17 August 2023


Born Free is saddened to report the UK’s largest reptile show and market has found a new venue in Rotherham, following the decision by Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes to stop hosting the cruel and outdated event.

A photo of chameleons in boxes at Doncaster Reptile Show

The Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham is set to host the next International Herpetological Society (IHS) Show on Sunday 17 September. At the show, many reptiles and amphibians will be housed in tiny, transparent boxes not dissimilar to takeaway containers, and subjected to inappropriate lighting, noise, vibrations, temperature and lack of refuge.

Unlike pet rabbits and dogs, the animals for sale at these shows are not domesticated species. Although many may be born in captivity, these are still wild animals with complex behavioural, environmental, social, nutritional, and other welfare needs which cannot be replicated in captivity, and are particularly compromised when the animals are displayed and sold in large numbers at reptile shows.

Born Free has written to the Magna Science Adventure Centre, outlining how the wildlife trade results in severe animal suffering, threatens human health and safety, and contributes to the global decline in biodiversity. Such concerns are detailed in our joint report with the RSPCA, ‘The Exotic Pet-Demic’. We are yet to receive a response from the venue.

Since Doncaster Racecourse stopped hosting the event in 2022, the IHS has been searching for a new venue, which saw the show briefly hosted in Manchester before moving on to Milton Keynes. However, on 27 June, the IHS announced that the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes will no longer host the event in September. Although we’re not aware of the reason for the cancellation, we are particularly concerned as the IHS commented on their Facebook post, ‘if we say what [the reason] was it would have a big impact in the running of future shows if it were to get in the wrong hands and there is nothing surer than there are [animal activists seeing] all this now’.

With your support, we will continue to campaign for an end to wildlife markets and lobby for the laws on the trade in and private keeping of exotic pets to be reviewed and strengthened.

Born Free believes that wildlife shows and live markets have no place in today’s society, and we would like to thank all our supporters who wrote to the previous venue outlining their concerns. If you would like to make your opposition known to the current venue, you can politely write them directly using the template letter and contact details below:

Magna Science Adventure Centre
Magna Way, Rotherham, S60 1FD