Since REPTA’s inception in 2004 the organisation has fought the anti reptile keeping lobby and made sure of fair representation at governmental level when policy is being developed that could affect the reptile hobby and wider industry.
Much of this work has been undertaken by a single man, Chris Newman. Chris has worked tirelessly for the betterment of the companion reptile sector and has helped to stop or amend problematic policy and anti-reptile derived rhetoric.
Over the past two decades the reptile companion animal sector has developed and is considerably larger than it once was. Reptiles have ascended in popularity to such an extent that many consider reptile companions to be the third most popular pet sector behind dogs and cats.
With this exponential growth and development it is no longer appropriate or indeed possible for one man to stay abreast of all issues facing the sector. As a result a skilled team have been assembled to aid Mr Newman in delivery. Chris’s primary skill set lies in the political lobby and communicating with organisations such as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Animal Health and Welfare Board (AHWB), Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG) and Companion Animal Sector Council (CASC). The restructured REPTA makes this Chris’ primary role (policy advisor).
Jim Collins has been brought in to be Chairperson of REPTA. Jim is a hugely respected reptile companion owner / breeder as well as a keeper and breeder of a wide range of interesting and obscure mammal and bird species. Jim has worked tirelessly for over two decades for SUN (Sustainable User Network) and has regularly engaged in many of the battles faced by Chris Newman. Jim’s experience and organisational development skills will be of great benefit to REPTA moving forwards.
Between the Chairperson and Policy Advisor there is nearly 50 years of political lobbying experience for the betterment of the reptile and wider exotic pet sectors.
A large part of REPTA’s mandate is to offer salient and well thought out counterpoints to anti-reptile ownership rhetoric. This will involve the development of internal policy, rebuttal documents and surveys to research our sector. Datasets are the key to unravelling the myths and lies perpetuated by extremist animal rights organisations.
Charles (Chaz) Thompson has assumed the role of Trade Delegate. As a specialist reptile centre owner of 20 years standing Charles understands the issues and pressures faced by the specialist pet centre network of the UK. Mr Thompson has developed surveys and acted as lead author / report developer for much of REPTA’s output for the last 2 years. A key part of his role moving forward is to help draft policy and enact the board’s decisions. Charles is also the point of contact for the specialist pet centre network in the event of issues arising.
REPTA needs to be able to communicate decisions in easily consumable ways that are of professional quality. An organisation that has created a ground swell of positivity around the reptile sector is Responsible Reptile Keeping. As the promotional wing of the sector Tony Wigley (Co-founder of RRK) has been brought onto the board to help with such decisions and have a direct line straight into REPTA policy development. Tony’s skill set will be imperative to succinctly communicate issues facing the hobby and policy developed by REPTA to help protect the sector.
To further bolster the industrial and political experience available Dave Perry has also been invited to join the board to offer pragmatic and insightful advice. Dave has multiple decades of reptile sector experience and is considered by the board to be a calm and sensible pair of hands.
A board of directors has been constructed to be able to discuss and develop strategy to protect the interests of our sector. Three directors have been appointed; Jo Wise, Chris Jones and Paul Fleming. As REPTA primarily is a trade association, representation from major wholesalers and specialist reptile centres is a pre-requisite and these three directors fulfil that requirement admirably.
There are 8 voting members of the board of REPTA. Jim Collins, as Chairman, will only be asked to vote in the event of a deadlock through abstention or absence of other board members. The restructuring of REPTA allows for a greater level of dynamism to be able to protect the reptile sector from bodies that would seek to disrupt our beloved hobby and industry.