11 May 2002
Well, spring is upon us, lizards are laying eggs and newts are already hatching, and this is only the third editorial of this year. This was mainly due to our being distracted (albeit pleasurably) by other projects, as well as the ever-present interface with the "real world" (which is good for us, really).
In our last editorial we talked about the legislative proposals being floated by DEFRA and Mr Elliott Morley. We are pleased to report that supporters of herpetology and the right to responsibly keep herps as pets have been keeping people informed and organising opposition to any potential back-door movements by the animal rights lobby. The editor of the Reptilian recently handed in a petition with over 7,000 signatures to DEFRA, the said signatories urging that no more restrictions be placed on reptile and amphibian-keeping. He was joined by a leading figure in the avian hobby, another group of law-abiding citizens who are threatened by the authoritarian minority. We ourselves sent a communication to the officer concerned, which we hope to put up here soon. It is worth reiterating that this debate is not yet over. If you keep herps in the UK and wish to continue to enjoy that right, we urge you to join one of the herpetological organisations: the IHS, FBH or BHS. Someone famously wrote that "all that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing". While it sounds a little old-fashioned, and I would not say that all or even most animal rights activists are evil, the most vociferous of them are bent on curtailing our freedoms by any means possible in pursuit of a goal that is at best mistaken and at worst philosophically disastrous.
Since the last editorial we have gained access to new sources of information that have enabled us to add fresh and more detailed information to some of our species guides. For example, the Tarentola geckos have been greatly updated, while we have been able to start adding some of the skink genera (including some of those obscure or neglected Australian skinks!). This in turn means that there will be a lot of consolidation to do, as we can now flesh out many of the existing accounts, particularly among the geckos and varanids. Finishing off the Lacertidae is taking longer, mainly because obtaining information on the individual species, particularly the African and Asian genera, is not easy. Few of these are seen in captivity or, as far as I am aware, even studied by specialists, so it will take some time. However, we are absolutely committed to this project. The other main addition to come soon (hopefully by the end of May) is a section of several pages on boas, not just the boa constrictors but the whole subfamily Boinae. This again will be an ongoing project, but we have already got a lot of the information in place. Further information on pine, gopher and bull snakes, and on chelonians and frogs and toads and invertebrates, is probably still some way off in all honesty.
Thanks again to everyone who has sent us E-mails recently. If for any reason I haven't replied to you, please let us know and I will try to do so again.
May 2000 (II)
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