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‘Snakes are the only species not allowed to stretch’

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By Josh Loeb

A group of vets is demanding that Defra forces pet shops and commercial traders in England to allow captive snakes enough space to stretch out fully.

The seven vets, all members of The Independent Ad Hoc Scientific Group on Snake Welfare, had expected that the department would specify in its new official husbandry guidance that any enclosure housing a snake should measure at least as long as the animal housed therein.

Small animal practitioner Mike Jessop is among those frustrated that Defra ‘went behind our backs’ to delete a key passage from the final version of its guidance accompanying its latest animal activities regulations.

The original draft version of the document, seen by Vet Record, contained a stipulation that all snakes should ideally be allowed sufficient space to stretch out fully. However, this statement had disappeared by the time the final version was released earlier this month.

All pet reptile groups apart from snakes were included by Defra in part of the …

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