The Own Initiative Report on the Biodiversity Strategy 2030 sends a strong message to the European Commission to protect endangered species such as tigers from the commercial and illegal wildlife trade. “Overall, we are very pleased that the plenary adopted the report in yesterday’s vote,” says Morgane Le Dréau, Wild Animal Policy Coordinator at FOUR PAWS. “MEPs call the EU to end the commercial trade in endangered species and their parts, as it has adverse effects on biodiversity, sustainable development, animal welfare and it provides a cover for the illegal trade in wildlife. The report lays important ground work towards better protecting those animals in the future.”
During the debate in the plenary session of the European Parliament on Monday afternoon, many MEPs spoke in favour of adopting stricter measures to protect endangered species and work towards ambitious climate goals, others called for a less ambitious strategy to take pressures off farmers and fisherman. However, while complying with the measures outlined in the Biodiversity Strategy might be a challenge for those working in agriculture and fisheries, without those measures in place, their businesses cannot last.
Many of the tabled amendments that would have lessened the impact of the report were rejected but in a close vote on Tuesday several amendments passed that weakened the overall report. AM 18 deleted all references to the benefits of plant-based diets and the impact of animal agriculture on biodiversity and climate change. “The passing of this amendment means, that one of the biggest contributors to the climate crisis and ecosystem destruction is no longer referred to in the report. Yet, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how interconnected the environment, animal health and welfare and public health are, and we would have wished to see this report reflect that,” says Sophie Aylmer, Political Advisor for Farm Animal and Nutrition Topics at FOUR PAWS. “However, the report still calls for legally binding targets on nature restoration and protection. This sends a strong message to the European Commission to deliver on its commitments under the Green Deal.”
AM 24, which was also adopted by the plenary, significantly weakens the call for a total ban on the ivory trade. “The legal and illegal trade with wild animals and their parts is one of the biggest threats to endangered and nearly extinct species, and we were disappointed to see the call for a full ban on commercial ivory trade weakened through the passing of this amendment.” Says Pierre Sultana, Director of the European Policy Office at FOUR PAWS. “We had high hopes, that the plenary would adopt the report as it was passed in the ENVI Committee without weakening its impact. Despite the passed amendments, we still welcome the adopted report as a big step towards better protecting biodiversity in the future.”
FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, orangutans and elephants – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in twelve countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org