In early February 2018 failed consultation on proposed changes by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to the Animals in Pet Shops Standards & Guidelines document associated with the Protection of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (POCTA) enraged the Herpetological Societies and Clubs within NSW.
Subsequently, the Herpetological Societies and Groups have unified to form the Herpetocultural Cooperative of NSW, with the intention to be acknowledged as a primary stakeholder for all matters relating to captive herpetofauna management in NSW.
This goal has now been achieved. The HCN is now officially recognised as a primary stakeholder by the Office of the Minister for Primary Industries, the DPI, and the Office of Environment & Heritage (OEH).
The following Herpetological Societies and Clubs formed the Herpetocultural Cooperative of NSW (HCN):
- Australian Herpetological Society
- Central Coast Herpetological Society
- Frog and Tadpole Study Group of NSW
- Hawkesbury Herpetological Society
- Illawarra Reptile Society
- Macarthur Herpetological Society
- North Coast Herpetological Group
- Shoalhaven Reptile Club
Also joining HCN are members from: DoLittle Farm; Flora & Fauna Management Services; Turtles R Us; Wildexpos; and individual reptile hobbyists.
There is still a lot to be achieved. We need to be prepared for the next review of the Pet Shop Standards & Guidelines. There are an increasing number of individuals with quite radical views of animal welfare and liberation, making their way into both Government and other animal welfare agencies. All of these need to be kept in check.
We have provided submissions in response to the Office of Environment & Heritage current Wildlife Licensing Review, which includes changes to the licensing of reptiles and a potential online breeders classification of licensing; the issues associated with re-homing of lost or abandoned reptiles will need constant vigilance; and there is also the growing threat to reptile (and indeed pet) keeping in NSW.
The HCN and its member Societies are strong advocates of animal welfare practices. Our members and other hobbyists are animal welfare experts. Our groups have been and will be the reptile welfare educators in the community. Our members do not just include day to day hobbyists, they also include, veterinarians, academics and specialists in herpetology-based fields. Animal welfare is an integral aspect of our day-to-day existence, it is who we are. No one has more knowledge than those of us within the herp community.
Our member organisations were directly involved in the drafting process with OEH to formulate the Code of Practice for Private Keeping of Reptiles (2013) and we will continue to review practices, to hold the welfare of our reptiles and amphibians at the highest levels.
The HCN is an initiative that we should all support, so that we are seen as a strong voice of reason when unrealistic regulations are proposed that restrict the keeping of herpetofauna as pets. By standing together and united, we can aim for a better public understanding of what reptile keeping truly means.
If you would like to know more or you simply have questions about the HCN, please send us a message and we will do our best to respond as quickly as possible.
You can find us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/HerpetoculturalCooperativeNSW
or keep up to date via our website: herpcoopnsw.org