I was very disturbed to learn recently of an illegal trade in pets.

The commercial sale of pet animals in markets and public places was banned in 1983 under the Pet Animals Act 1951. But pet dealers still travel the country selling stressed and suffering creatures such as rabbits, dogs, birds and reptiles at animal jumble sales.

These dealers attend exotic pet fairs and horse markets and, to get around the law, they pose as private individuals.

Council officers often have no notice of these events and do not have the resources to carry out in-depth investigations to prove the trades are breaking the law.

The Animals Protection Agency (APA) has suggested the Government should not only ban commercial sales of animals at fairs and markets, but also legislate for a system of licensing.

Prospective organisers would have to apply for a licence from their council in advance of an event.

If the council deemed the event to be commercial, no licence would be issued. This would allow the law to be enforced.

The APA can be contacted on 01273 674253 and at apa.org.uk In the meantime, please do not buy animals at these events, as this only ensures this type of trading continues. Report it instead.

Eversley Avenue