The European Commission introduced the Biodiversity Strategy 2030 over a year ago, and while it recognized the close link between the illegal wildlife trade and the emerging of zoonotic diseases and set out several steps the European Commission will take to combat that illegal trade, it failed to address the legal wildlife trade. The Environment Committee of the European Parliament had the opportunity to provide its opinion in the form of an Own Initiative Report, drafted by MEP César Luena. After a vote on amendments yesterday, this morning the Committee adopted the whole report, with excellent provisions on wildlife trade, ivory trade, positive list, funding for rescue centres and fur production.
MEPs adopted several amendments that acknowledged the dangers of the legal commercial trade in endangered species, such as tigers. “These amendments are an important step towards protecting wildlife, but they need to go further and take steps towards ending the unnecessary commercial trade in wild animals starting with species such as tigers who are threatened in the wild because of trade and are intensively bred in Europe for the purposes of trade” says Pierre Sultana, Director of the FOUR PAWS European Policy Office.
While the illegal trade in wildlife is often the focal point when looking at endangered species and their protection, the role of the legal trade can no longer be ignored. “The legal commercial trade in wild animals such as tigers is detrimental to biodiversity and sustainable development and raises immense animal welfare concerns,” says Kieran Harkin, Head of Wild Animals in Trade, FOUR PAWS International. “The legal trade also often provides a cover for the illegal wildlife trade and needs to be strictly monitored.”
Now the report has to go to Plenary. We trust MEPs will adopt an ambitious report and urge them to not weaken the text!
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