Support for better protection of threatened species and a ban on their commercial trade
Threatened species such as elephants, big cats, rays, and sharks should be given the highest international conservation status. Proposals to this end by, amongst others, the Dutch Party for the Animals, were adopted last week by the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI). These proposals include a ban on the commercial trade in these animals, establishing a European Positive List of allowed pets, better law enforcement, and tackling the trade in so-called medications made from these wild animals. In the Dutch parliament, the Party for the Animals received support for its proposals to fight wildlife crime, the illegal trade in threatened animals and plants.
The fact that the ENVI Committee supports these proposals is an important success leading up to the international summit to be held in Panama in November. There, the representatives of 184 countries will discuss fighting the trade in threatened species. Last week, the committee voted on the European Union’s stance during those negotiations.
Next to a higher conservation status for elephants, tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards, and snow leopards, the committee also wants to enforce control of the trade in sharks and rays. Besides this, the ENVI Committee wants countries to deploy more police and customs staff to better enforce the treaty on the international trade of threatened species (CITES). The European Union also has to call upon the World Health Organization (WHO) to reject so-called medicines made from wild animals.
Positive List for pets and tackling illegal breeding and trade
The Party for the Animals’ proposal to introduce a European ‘Positive List’ of allowed pets was adopted as well. By introducing such a Positive List, it will only be allowed to keep the approved species of animal mentioned on that list as pets. Many exotic animals do not belong in households as pets due to their nature and needs. In the Netherlands, such a Positive List has been established already, thanks in part to the hard work that the Party for the Animals and animal welfare organisations have been putting in for years. Because of this, it will no longer be allowed to trade in or keep animals like raccoons and servals from 2024 onwards. The party is currently striving to get a similar list adopted for reptiles, amphibians and birds.
Thanks to two other proposals by the Party for the Animals that were approved by the Dutch parliament this summer, animals that were smuggled into the country illegally can no longer be sold legally. Neither can their offspring, both of which were possible and common practice up until now. The government has to be strict in ensuring that if there is any doubt, trade permits will no longer be granted. Furthermore, wildlife crime and the trade in so-called traditional medicines made from threatened animals and plants will be included in the regular meetings of the Minister for Justice, the police and municipalities.
“These species are not faring well, their numbers are still dwindling. Real action has to be taken before it is too late”, said MEP Anja Hazekamp of the Party for the Animals. “These plans are important steps in tackling the illegal trade in threatened species”.