The first major herp event in southern England since the introduction of the Animal Welfare Act four years ago took place this summer in the grandstand building of Kempton Park racecourse, near Heathrow Airport, London. The Kempton Park Reptile Expo was a joint show, hosted by the Federation of British Herpetologists (FBH), the British Reptile & Amphibian Society, The Essex Reptile & Amphibian Club, The Thames & Chiltern Herpetological Group, The Portsmouth Reptile & Amphibian Society and the Eastern Herpetological Society. Members of the public were invited, although all exhibitors were members of the above societies or FBH-affiliated societies.
The organizers had anticipated that about 1,500 people would turn up to view the surplus stock being offered by breeders belonging to the clubs and societies involved, but this proved to a major underestimate. According to initial figures, the event attracted approximately 6,000 enthusiasts. People queued for up to two hours to get into the venue, and remained remarkably good-humored, in spite of the delay.
Ball pythons were much in evidence, as well as corn snakes and bearded dragon morphs, and, as could be anticipated, business was brisk. There was also plenty of interest in crested geckos, which are gaining rapidly in popularity at present, along with invertebrates.
Even so, the success of the Kempton Park Reptile Expo raises an interesting question for trade members, who were restricted to selling dry goods under current rules. Although obviously licensed and inspected on their own premises, dealers were unable to bring any of their animals to sell at the show.
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