our latest news
10 March 2016 Hands off campaign relaunches for 2016 devolved elections
The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association is re-launching its #handsoffmyhobby campaign as Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish voters go to the polls in May.
This time, the trade association is asking businesses and hobbyists to ask their local politicians where they stand on the issue of exotic pets and proclaim their pride at keeping exotic species like ornamental fish.
“All ornamental fish are exotic in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland so anyone who keeps fish essentially has an exotic pet. It’s probably not what many people think of when they use that term but we need to make sure politicians know what’s involved if they seek further controls on exotic pet-keeping,” said OATA Chief Executive Keith Davenport.
The exotic pet trade – especially businesses that supply ornamental fish and reptiles – are already under scrutiny by the Scottish government. And OATA believes it is only a matter of time before animal campaign groups push for similar reviews of the trade in Wales, Northern Ireland and England.
“These elections give us a great opportunity to start raising local politicians’ awareness that exotic pets cover a wide spectrum of species that perhaps they haven’t realised. Their decisions could stop a whole host of animals from being kept as companions. Ask them - do they really want to see pets like goldfish and guppies banned from our homes?”
The trade association has come up with a list of simple ideas that people can use to show their support for the campaign – and it’s particularly asking businesses and fish-keepers to write to their politicians to ask their position on exotic pet keeping. Example letters and other ideas can be found at here for the industry and here for hobbyists.
Local council and mayoral elections are taking place across England and OATA also wants businesses and fish-keepers to talk about exotic pet keeping to candidates and canvassers.
Elections are taking place for the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Irish Assembly and some councils in England on Thursday May 5.
7 May 2015 Thunderclap makes its noise
Thank you to the 145 people who 'donated' a tweet, Facebook or Tumblr update through our Thunderclap. We wanted one last blast on social media to let would-be politicians know about the Hands Off My Hobby campaign. It went out at midday on Wednesday May 6 - the day before the UK went to the polls for the General Election.
8 April 2015 another way to support the campaign
7 April 2015 5,000 petition signatures
We passed the 5,000 signatures mark on our petition over the Easter weekend! Great work but keep on signing!
25 Mar 15 third campaign video
We love it! Here's another video from dedicated fish-keeper Joe Campbell about the Hands Off My Hobby campaign. It's so great to see this kind of support for the campaign. Click, sign, share the petition - we couldn't have put it better ourselves. Please share the video as far as you can!
13 Mar 15 Maidenhead Aquatics video
Another great video supporting our Hands Off My Hobby. Thanks to Maidenhead Aquatics for helping to raise awareness about this campaign.
9 Mar 15 brilliant video!
Look at this brilliant YouTube video made by fish-keeper Joe Campbell on his Fish N Tips YouTube channel. It's really great that the Hands Off My Hobby campaign has inspired people to want to fight for fish-keeping and take the time and trouble to do this. Please feel free to share wherever you can and let's get more people signing the petition and writing to their MPs/MSPs. Good work Joe!
4 Mar 15 Msp replies
Thanks to fantastic work by one Scottish fish-keeper who took the time and trouble to visit her MSP at his surgery, we've been in follow-up contact with MSP Angus MacDonald alerting him to the issues around the exotic pet trade review planned in Scotland. We've had rather a 'stock' answer which just seems to regurgitate the press release so not much new in what he says (which you can read here). There are some interesting comments in there about online selling, which is a real issue, and he says he'll keep us informed about the consultation. We'll pass on any information we get about this so that you can make your views known.
2 Mar 15 Another mp writes in
26 Feb 15 An mep replies
21 Feb 2015
We've noticed this blog from animal campaign group OneKind - the group that was so successful in getting the ear of Scottish Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead who recently launched a review into the exotic pet trade in Scotland. What do you think when you hear the word pet? OneKind asks. Apparently not fish. They think hobbyists view their fish as largely 'curiosities, status symbols, trophies or items in a collection'. They clearly haven't seen some of the comments from those who've signed our petition. And it's exactly why we launched the Hands Off My Hobby campaign - to tell MPs that fish actually make good pets too!
20 feb 15 2000 signatures
We've hit the 2,000+ signature mark on our Hands Off My Hobby petition. But we need thousands more!
20 Feb 15 Another mp replies
OATA wrote to its local MP Dr Andrew Murrison to see what he had to say about our Hands Off My Hobby campaign. He replied: "We live in a society which seems ever more willing to ban things others enjoy without bothering too much with an evidence base on which to base their claims.
"I was not aware of the threat you cite but am now and am grateful to you for bringing it to my attention. The Scottish government’s socialist approach points to more regulation and interference than I would be comfortable with and it's most unlikely that I would support the banning of exotic fish keeping. I hope that gives you the reassurance you need."
That's obviously good to hear but we need to know that more MPs share that view. So we hope it inspires more people to write to their MP, & MSP in Scotland, about our campaign. And please let us know what they have to say!
16 Feb 15 Scots Govt to review exotic pet trade
We hate to say we told you so but it's what we felt when we heard about the Scottish Government's decision to review the exotic pet trade. This is exactly what we feared and why we relaunched the Hands Off My Hobby campaign. You can read what's planned here - and it's disappointing to see the Cabinet Secretary fails to mention trade and hobbyists as people he'll talk to - and OATA's response.
If you have a business in Scotland here's a poster and flyer for you to use to help promote the Hands Off My Hobby campaign.
11 Feb 15 another MP replies
5 Feb 15 First reply from an Mp
We've had our first reply from an MP to our Hands Off My Hobby campaign. Good to hear that MP for Wyre Forest Mark Garnier does not support a blanket ban on importing non-native animals.
2 Feb 15 1,000 signatures to petition
Just 12 days into our campaign we hit the 1,000 signatures to our petition - which is great news! But we're still asking people not to stop there. The next job is to write to your local MP (here are draft letters for those in the industry or hobbyists) and let them know about the campaign.
21 Jan 15 we relaunch the campaign
Today's the day we relaunch the Hands Off My Hobby campaign and ask people to start signing our petition. Read our press releases here for the trade press and the hobby press.