10 March 2016

The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association is re-launching its #handsoffmyhobby campaign as Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish voters go to the polls in May.

This time, the trade association is asking businesses and hobbyists to ask their local politicians where they stand on the issue of exotic pets and proclaim their pride at keeping exotic species like ornamental fish.

“All ornamental fish are exotic in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland so anyone who keeps fish essentially has an exotic pet. It’s probably not what many people think of when they use that term but we need to make sure politicians know what’s involved if they seek further controls on exotic pet-keeping,” said OATA Chief Executive Keith Davenport.

The exotic pet trade – especially businesses that supply ornamental fish and reptiles – are already under scrutiny by the Scottish government. And OATA believes it is only a matter of time before animal campaign groups push for similar reviews of the trade in Wales, Northern Ireland and England.

“These elections give us a great opportunity to start raising local politicians’ awareness that exotic pets cover a wide spectrum of species that perhaps they haven’t realised. Their decisions could stop a whole host of animals from being kept as companions. Ask them – do they really want to see pets like goldfish and guppies banned from our homes?”

The trade association has come up with a list of simple ideas that people can use to show their support for the campaign – and it’s particularly asking businesses and fish-keepers to write to their politicians to ask their position on exotic pet keeping. Example letters and other ideas can be found at the campaign website www.handsoffmyhobby.org

Local council and mayoral elections are taking place across England and OATA also wants businesses and fish-keepers to talk about exotic pet keeping to candidates and canvassers.

Elections are taking place for the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Irish Assembly and some councils in England on Thursday May 5.