I would have to agree with Jeff, in that i agree with 95% of that article and can definately see where his view is comming from in his reply to your email.
Now if anyone here (with a good sense of husbandry and all around knowledge concerning reptiles) has ever worked in a pet store...KNOWS how many people come in daily who know absolutely nothing about reptiles but either already keep reptiles or plan to buy one or more without asking enough questions to qualify them as a "good keeper".
Now, within the past couple of months while working at Reptile Headquaters. i have witnessed the following.
1. Box turtles being kept in aquariums with mostly water up to a foot deep in one end of the tank wondering why the shell is soft.
2. multiple WC iguanas with being keptin less then adequate conditions with tails bitten off resulting in secondary infections.
3. The ever so popular burms being purchased and at 6 months being kept in a 36" inch tank...now to most, you would think this size of tank would be fairly cramped for a 6 month old burm. However, by the description of the owner, this burm was no larger then a neonate. so either it is severely underfed. or it is not 6 months of age.
either way, they did not have a clue of the size potential or care requirements.
4. ball pythons the size of a well started 6 month old , but 3 years of age...
5. 18+ inch bearded dragon kept in the smallest tank possible. without a place to retreat from its overhead heat lamp. with a burn on its back. the father brought it in as the daughter had went to college and he had no clue what to do with it.
we gladly took it. Re established it. and found it a good home.
Now all of these animals were purchased from pet shops around the GTA. There was never any reason for me to believe that the store gave them GOOD information on how to keep them properly, nor was there any indication that the owner did much to educate themselves.
And these are the two groups that FUEL this industry. Pet shops and there inexperienced buyers.
I obviously have no statistics to back up this claim, but i think many can agree that as far as amounts of transactions go....there are FAR more pet shop transactions then within our community or any other online community.
Sure we spend the big bucks for overpriced morphs, but its less often and outweighed by the amount of transactions that the bigger store chains recieve on a busy saturday and sunday afternoon.
We have to be pretty naive to think that the majority of reptile owners in Canada are on this site. It would be nice if it was the truth, but its not. And the scary thing is, regardless of whether WSPA has actually surveyed people to back up these claims, if they did indeed have to, to get laws put in place....im afraid that they might just come up with the percentages they need.
The WC problem is a big one for them. Infact its a big problem for all of us.
And a great weight falls on the shoulders of the thousands of pet shops around the globe. But not exclusively. There are plenty BIG breeders out there importing normal balls, bloods, etc... to fill customer needs, fill up webspace if they had a bad year, or just to be able to have normals available while they concentrate on the higher end stuff as far as captive breeding goes....
then you have your short-lived importer who moves a million wc balls quickly, makes there money, and gets out.
Then theres us, i am guilty of bying a known WC in the past. And im sure there are others.
So there is not any one group to blame.
And i can see where WSPA is comming from. I dont neccessarily agree with the end result they are trying to attain, but they do have some points that could definately be proven down the road.
The thing i dont like is that many of these organizations fail to comprehend or perhaps intentionally ignore all the positive points Nett has mentioned like the advances in husbandry and knowledge of the requirements for these animals.
This is where it REAALLY bothers me and i have a hard time comming up with ideas of how to defend our hobby against there claims.
I can tell you one thing ive been noticing lately.... We dont really have a power house to compete with WSPA...we have no organization.
What i see is a very large community of people sub divided into there own little reptile clubs/cliques across the country, some areas without any reptile clubs, some clubs having beef with others, etc..
Everyones doin there OWN thing.... instead of everyone doing ONE thing. Which should be educatiing anyone and everyone, working towards one common goal, which should be education and awareness....
Has Anyone ever told there friends (non-herpers) that they're apart of a "reptile club" and got a weird look?.... perhaps a chuckle.... with images of a bunch of 4-eyed pre-pubescent teens standing around looking at there snakes scales with magnifying glasses....
the point im trying to make is that we have no voice, we are unknown. many people dont even know reptile keeping exists in communities... and its about time we establish reptile-regional groups under one name with one goal...This way we can take our own poles... come up with our own facts...with limitless boundaries...
Im just not sure we have what it takes...
Sorry about the long post and perhaps differing views..but thats what makes these boards useful.
Grant van Gameren