We are thrilled to announce that Bill has become our official patron. We look forward to working with him to change the world for exotic pets everywhere!
Bill is a famed British ornithologist, author, comedian and more as well as being a thoroughly charming chap. He is very active in the world of animal welfare, wildlife protection and conservation here in the UK and worldwide.
A message from our patron
"The fact is that nothing surprises me about what humans can do to animals, especially where money is involved. I am not saying that most people don’t love their pets, and do their best to take care of them. But I am saying that some animals really don’t belong in captivity and I am saying that some of them are being mistreated, neglected or abandoned, and have to be rescued and rehoused. I am also saying that there is without doubt a wide spread pet industry (both exotic and otherwise) whose primary concern is not animal welfare it is making money. Witness this statement by a leading figure in the pet trade addressing fellow traders. He is objecting to what he considers to be a threat from an overzealous RSPCA:
“ Make no mistake, your hobby is at risk because extremists now hold power at the RSPCA. Ours is a major hobby, and a multi-million pound trade! With thousands of employees, and a substantial source of revenue for the Exchequer.”
Call me sceptical, call me suspicious, but in my lifetime I have noticed that any scheme whose paramount motive is to make animals “pay” rarely has the welfare of the creatures - whether common, exotic, captive or wild - as deeply at heart as the various NGOs - large and small - whose work is entirely and completely benign and not regarded as a “million pound trade!
What matters most is the welfare of the animals, whether they are pets or wildlife, in captivity or cages, or running, swimming or flying free. Cruelty and suffering is totally abhorrent, whether it is in the name of sport or leisure - from dog fighting, to hare coursing or game shooting - or as the result of neglect or ignorance.
The day may come when the keeping of exotic pets is considered unacceptable, but meanwhile there will be emergencies, iniquities, cries for help, and the need for rapid rescue. Which is when you call Clare and Graeme!"
Bill Oddie OBE, February 2016
Supported by Ladbrook Insurance, a specialist animal charity insurance provider.
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Meet the Owner-Operator, Clare Barnard BSc.(Hons)
Clare is a research scientist and PhD candidate at the University of Lincoln where she is studying wildlife conservation and the direct impact of the exotic pet trade on wild animal populations. She will be working from the Laboratory of Evolutionary Ecology of Adaptations. Clare has also been honoured to become part of the Global Amphibian Biodiversity research team.
Clare has almost 20 years professional experience in the husbandry of exotic animals a specialism in the genetics of British herpetofauna. She has worked with wild Adders (Vipera berus) and endangered Natterjack Toads (Epidalea calamita) under Natural England license conditions. Clare has worked as a zookeeper and within private collections including her own. She lives in rural North Warwickshire, on-site at Grace's Rest, with a whole host of animals!