Shouldn’t we be able to choose which animals we would like to keep at home, as long as they can be well cared for, and are safe to keep for the owner and the environment?

Herptiles, such as lizards, frogs, turtles and snakes, have been banned in Norway since 1977. The reasons for the ban of such animals were founded in the lack of knowledge about the species in question, and their ecological impact on the Norwegian fauna. Since then, research has been done on the subject, and factual information has been gathered from Norways neighboring countries. In 2008, a “positive list” was drafted by the Norwegian Herpetology Foundation together with Norwegian Food Safety Authority.

The purpose of the “positive list” was to allow certain species of animals that were safe and relatively easy to keep. By changing the legislation related to the ban of these animals, the 150.000-200.000 animals already residing in Norway would be governed under the same legislation as other pets and captive animals. First and foremost, this would secure the animals’ right to proper welfare, like the many other animals residing in homes in Norway. The legislative change was due for a hearing in the Norwegian parliament during spring, 2013.

Norways Minister of Agriculture, Trygve Slagsvold Vedum, appeared in the news on the 3rd of April, stating that he would not allow the proposed new legislation to be allowed to hearing as planned. He continued to state that keepers of herptiles should bring the animals to a veterinarian to be put down. The minister went against the recommendations of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety, the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management and the Norwegian Veterinarian Union, putting a stop to the legislative process.

The herpetology society and experts from various departments working with the new law proposal feel strongly about equal rights for all pets and captive kept animals in Norway. The fact that the Minister of Agriculture neglects the facts presented from studies, reports and Q&A sessions in this case, and also that he proposes to kill the 150.000-200.000 animals already being kept in Norway – is something that we as an animal loving society, who appreciates the importance of equal welfare for animals, cannot accept.

We feel that all pets, dogs, cats, birds, hamsters and reptiles, should be governed by the same rules and legislation. Our purpose with this petition is to show our contempt for the ministers desire to kill healthy animals, and our desire to let the proposed change in legislation be given a fair chance at a hearing. A decision for or against should be based on well-founded facts, and be taken by the elected democratic majority – and not by a minister that listens to his own prejudice.

Letter to
The Ministry of Agriculture and Food
Give the legislative proposal to own exotic animals a fair hearing.

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