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Growing together for healthy animals

Like so many things in life, keeping terrariums has changed and evolved over the decades. Species that years ago were said not to have been kept and propagated by humans are now regularly offered as progeny. Advances in technology – be it lighting or irrigation technology – have also helped us to care for and house our animals in a more animal-friendly way – including natural living room habitats, previously known only from zoological institutions.

Unfortunately, there are also developments in the breeding of reptiles that should not only be critically examined, but also violate the Animal Welfare Act and should therefore be rejected - the so-called bad breeding practices.

Article 1 of the Animal Welfare Act makes it clear that no one may cause pain, suffering or damage to an animal without good reason. However, cultivation forms that can meet a (personal) ideal of beauty and are not free from pain, suffering and damage do not constitute a reasonable ground within the meaning of the Animal Welfare Act. Article 11b of the Animal Welfare Act stipulates that it is prohibited to breed animals or modify biotechnical measures if, in the case of breeding, breeding results … give rise to the expectation that the result of the breeding or alteration (1) in the offspring … or their offspring are missing or unsuitable hereditary body parts or organs or transformed for proper use and pain, suffering or harm arises as a result.” This also includes hereditary behavioral disorders that are associated with suffering, but also pain, suffering or damage in contact with conspecifics or in the animals themselves, or an attitude that only causes pain, suffering or damage is possible.

This makes it clear that not every culture form or color morph is bad breeding in itself, any more than conclusions can be drawn about all individuals of a morph from an individual case. With the breeding forms, however, the critical question must be asked whether all animals with changes from the nominate form can live without pain, suffering or damage! If there are cultivation indications and/or scientific evidence that this is not the case, such cultivation forms must be regarded as breeding and rejected.

In order to put the theoretical principles of the Animal Welfare Act into practice at the Terraria events, we now specify as a first step those phenotypic breeding forms that will be banned from the fair in December 2022. With the following morphs it can be considered certain that pain, suffering or damage will or can occur in the offspring:

• "Lemon Frost" leopard geckos (skin tumor formation)
• "Enigma" Leopard Geckos (Enigma Syndrome)
• "Spider" ball python (wobble syndrome, vestibular malformations)
• "Silkback" bearded dragon (lack of mechanical protection of the skin and very high evaporation rate)
• Diurnal albino lizards and turtles (lack of melanin leads to increased photosensitivity)

Morphs such as bearded dragons in the "Leatherback" form, scaleless snakes ("Scaleless") or "Jaguar" morphs of the carpet python are being evaluated for their possible inclusion in the list of prohibited breeds in the Terraria events based on further information from science, veterinary medicine and breeders' circles.

We are aware that this list is not exhaustive and will not be generally enthusiastic. However, with this step we do not only want to do justice to the animals, but also draw attention to the welfare of the amphibians and reptiles that we care for during the breeding period. Healthy animals should be at the center of keeping and breeding, not market trends and beauty ideals. Therefore, we will regularly evaluate which cultivars should be classified as breeding strains - the procedure is therefore a dynamic process, just like growing morphs!

We look forward to your support in the implementation in our Terraria events!