Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ilford Town Centre -
false claims over animal use

Humboldt penguin - photo credit: jeff o_o via photopin cc
You remember back in early November we posted on Rudolf's Christmas Wish, a campaign by the Captive Animals Protection Society to draw attention to concerns about the welfare of the animals on display in Christmas shows around the country.

Last week the Ilford Recorder advertised a 'penguin parade' this Saturday on Ilford High Road. Reindeer are scheduled the following week. Over at the Captive Animal's Protection Society though they're looking a bit harder - and it's not good news. They've posted an article titled Christmas reindeer and penguin organisers forced to amend false claims over animal use. From it:
"...the Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS), contacted Ilford Town Centre, which is responsible for the event, over inaccurate statements published on its website with regard to the animals. The statement, which had been brought to the attention of the CAPS team on the 22nd November, made the claim that the reindeer supplier held a licence issued by Government. In fact, the type of licence that the company claimed to hold does not exist.

CAPS contacted both Ilford Town Centre and the agency acting for the animal supplier to query the inaccurate information but received no response to a series of simple questions. The event looks set to go ahead in the next few days. Despite failure to respond to the concerns directly, the Ilford website has recently been updated to confirm that the company is not licensed, as previously asserted, but simply entered on a register with its local council.

Despite this amendment being made, a CAPS spokesperson said that the information published by Ilford Town Centre still shows a “fundamental lack of understanding of the most basic animal welfare principles and laws”. For example, the statement goes on to claim that the reindeer keepers comply with the “four freedoms” of animal welfare; standards which, it is stated, are not enshrined in law but which are simply “useful ideals for judging animal welfare”. In fact, the five (not four) freedoms have been effectively enshrined in law since 2006 and the introduction of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

In the statement relating to the penguins that are to be used this weekend, it is claimed that they come from a “zoological gardens” but queries over which zoo is supplying the animals have been ignored."
Why care? Keeping these animals may be lucrative - but caring for them is complicated.
"A formal report compiled for Government by the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) in July 2013 (pdf) said of reindeer:

“There have been a number of reports of ill thrift and death in these animals due to poor management and their special dietary and environmental requirements. Reindeer are out with FAWC’s remit because they are not farmed but we strongly suggest their welfare should be considered further by the Government as they are particularly likely to be kept by inexperienced owners for commercial reasons”."
If you are concerned for the penguins and the reindeer in Ilford Town Centre and would like alternative festivities for Ilford, please politely contact Ilford Town Centre explaining why.

Ilford Town Centre wants to attract people to shop at Ilford - that's a goal we can all support. However, there are many things we'd draw the line at, and I'd say that placing animals in busy shopping centres should be one of them. I noticed back in November that many other boroughs had creative Christmas plans which were clearly inspired by animals but didn't drag them into high streets. For example Southwark has hidden some goose figurines in local shops so kids can hunt them down and win a prize. Camden has a huge topiary reindeer - good for lights and photos. I'm sorry to say that Havering is using reindeer - but on the plus side it has fire dancing in Elms Park, which sounds great.


  1. so are pets captive animals?

  2. Yes, to a greater or lesser extent. And they are often abused, neglected or otherwise mistreated. But you have to draw a distinction between a companionship and exploitation for money.

  3. 'Penguin parade in Ilford town centre brings animal welfare concerns as well as crowds' - the Ilford Recorder reports on the Captive Animals Protection Society campaign and ask readers whether the penguins should have been brought to Ilford.

  4. The Captive Animal s Protection Society states that the type of licence claimed to be held by the animal supplier does not exist. This is a complete fabrication.Just look at the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo5/15- and you will see that it states16/38 and you will see that it states Restriction on exhibition and training of performing animals.
    (1)No person shall exhibit or train any performing animal unless he is registered in accordance with this Act. So, yes any person supplying animals for entertainment or educational purposes must be registered with their local authority who in turn will then grant or deny a Performing Animals Licence to the applicant. So even a magician with one rabbit must hold a Performing Animals Licence. It seems to me that the Five Freedoms referred to have been inadvertently made 4 in the report so taking both these points into consideration, my thought is that CAPS are the ones making false claims by saying there is no such licence. Just ask your local council licensing department. Ask Ilford Town Council.

    1. Dear Anon,
      Try reading the quote from CAPS, above, again.