Hands on reptile shows with Snakebusters to continue … for now!

In VCAT proceedings at end 2008, the Victorian government licencing authority (called “DSE”) and “Zoo’s Victoria” argued against Snakebusters allowing “hands on” with reptiles at their demonstrations.  Snakebusters are Victoria’s leaders for kids reptile parties, kids reptile shows, mobile reptile displays, corporate entertainment and reptile displays and snake shows. DSE stated repeatedly that Snakebusters were the only demonstrators who allow the public to hold their reptiles at shows and events and that all other traveling reptile and wildlife demonstrators effectively confined themselves to “show and tell”, and perhaps allowing the public a fleeting touch of an animal, while being held in a firm grip by the demonstrator.  They repeatedly pointed out that Snakebusters are the only demonstrator in Victoria that actually allows people to hold reptiles and furthermore allows many people to do so at once.

“Zoo’s Victoria” and DSE repeatedly claimed Snakebusters had an “unfair advantage” with their “hands on” (and exclusive posession of “devenomized snakes“), as compared to their own business which effectively confines the public to viewing animals in cages and without “hands on” (and their staff regularly getting life-threatening snake bites – a risk Snakebusters didn’t have due to their devenomized snakes) with the major claim that Snakebusters was costing Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary customers and that was also making “Zoo’s Victoria” costing Victorian taxpayers who financially supported the zoos multi-million dollar annual losses.  
Snakebusters and thousands of supporting petitioners, including teachers, parents and so on, argued that “Zoos Victoria” and other demonstrators should raise their standards to meet Snakebusters, rather than attempting to force Snakebusters to lower their standards to help competitors gain market share.
VCAT Commissioner Anne Coghlan agreed with the government submissions against “Hands on” by Snakebusters, remarking that if she had it her way, all snakes would be killed on sight!  She further made it clear that she wanted to use VCAT to support “Zoos Victoria” in order to reduce the “competitive advantages” of Snakebusters to help “Zoos Victoria” in particular improve their commercial position.  Coghlan also stated that if she could, she’d ban all wildlife demonstrations and private ownership of reptiles, thereby confining all public viewing of wildlife to the three government-owned zoos to give “Zoos Victoria” a monopoly on wildlife education in Victoria and a stronger market position.  However she was unable to make an order stopping “hands on”, because this is expressly allowed in the preamble to the Victorian Wildlife Act, which is the law governing private wildlife ownership and wildlife shows and demonstrations in Victoria, including Snakebusters.  

There is now talk about amending the Victorian Wildlife Act in 2012 to ban any private ownership of reptiles, “hands on reptile shows” at demonstrations, banning childrens reptile parties in Melbourne and so on, but this has not yet happened, and as in previous years, Snakebusters will lead the resistance to any such moves.

Hence for the time being and contrary to false claims circulated by Snakebusters rivals, ALL the “hands on” by Snakebusters at our reptile shows, events, educational school incursions, kid’s parties and the like remains totally legal. By the way, contrary to a repeated false claim by a rival, Snakebusters don’t hand out (devenomized) Tiger Snakes to kids at parties! The claim was made by a person (apparantly) unable to tell the difference between a Sand Python and a Tiger Snake. Funnily enough, VCAT Commissioner Anne Coghlan also had the misguided belief that pythons were dangerously venomous snakes as well!  

Snakebusters remain the “hands on” reptile show of choice for Victorians and is supported by tens of thousands of school teachers, parents and others who want their kids, friends and families to have the best “hands on” educational wildlife shows and education possible.

Stop press – as of End 2010 – Zoos Victoria and the DSE have launched a new campaign to OUTLAW all hands on reptiles kids parties and shows in VictoriaSnakebusters reptile shows are the ONLY wildlife demonstrator in Victoria opposing this plan.

 Further details about Snakebusters – Australia’s best reptiles can be seen at their website at:

 http://www.snakebusters.com.au or contacted by phone in Melbourne on 03 9812 3322 (Australia)

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About thesnakeman

Snake shows, reptile party displays, kids reptile parties in Melbourne, snake catcher, handler and removals. Children's birthday party events, zoologist, scientist, snakehandler and training others for snake handling courses.
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