Melissa Kaplan's
Herp Care Collection
Last updated January 1, 2014

This Summer, Remember the Reptiles:
Reptile Give-Aways at Fairs

This Humane Society article gives some suggestions on how to fight reptile (or any animal) give-aways at carnivals, fairs, flea markets, or any other place where event organizers or vendors think it's okay to give away animals like they were candy or coupons

HUMANlines, HSUS and the Fund For Animals, June 20, 2001, Issue 150


Frog-jumping contests, reptile give-aways, and turtle races are common summer fair events that pose a significant risk to both humans and animals. People who come into contact with reptiles and amphibians run a risk of contracting Salmonella infection (especially children).

In 1999, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) warned that 93,000 people contract salmonellosis from contact with reptiles or amphibians every year. Many are hospitalized, and still others die from their infection. Although the CDC has specific recommendations to prevent Salmonella infection (ie: washing with anti-bacterial soap immediately after handling reptiles), these guidelines are almost impossible to follow during fairs or other public events. There are also serious humane concerns for the reptiles and amphibians themselves, the vast majority of whom suffer and perish from neglect and improper care.

Conservationists are also concerned with the collection of wild amphibians and reptiles to stock these summer fairs events and contests.


If you attend a fair that is using reptiles and amphibians as part of its attraction, take time to educate event sponsors, state and local health departments, and your state secretary of agriculture (who approves reptile give-aways). Make them aware of the health risks and cruelty issues involved in these events and ask that they discontinue such events. You might also wish to let them know that sponsors may be held legally liable for illnesses caused by these careless events.

Contact HSUS at (301) 258-3143 or email for more info.

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