Stop the trade in endangered species! Support for proposals by Party for the Animals in European Parliament
A vast majority of the European Parliament voted in favour of the Party for the Animals’ proposal to award the highest possible international protection status to threatened species such as elephants, hippos, jaguars, lions, and snow leopards this month. This would entail any and all commercial trade in these animals becoming prohibited. The proposal to draw up a European positive list of allowed pets was adopted as well, and the European Commission has already committed to exploring the possibilities.
“In these times of climatological and environmental crises, the protection of endangered plants and animals has to improve drastically” states Anja Hazekamp, MEP of the Party for the Animals and submitter of these proposals. During the debate in the European Parliament, she called on her colleagues and on the European Commission to show more ambition and resolve in protecting more animal species, better enforcing laws and treaties, and truly tackling the illegal trade in wild animals. “Around the world, one million species of plants and animals are threatened with extinction because of human activities.”
The debate in the European Parliament is a preparation for the upcoming international summit on the CITES-treaty, an international treaty about the trade in wild animals and plants. In November, representatives from 184 countries will come together to negotiate a new version of the treaty.
Hazekamp was critical of the lax position of the European Commission during the last CITES-summit in 2019. “Why did the European Commission refuse to support the proposals of several African countries to award elephants the highest possible protection status? Their numbers have only dwindled further since then”, Hazekamp said. “It is important that the European Union makes every effort to save species from the brink of extinction at the upcoming international CITES summit.”
Support for new proposals
Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, and Senegal submitted a new proposal for the upcoming CITES summit. They want to award the African elephant the highest international protection status. Furthermore, a number of African countries have also submitted a proposal to give hippos this status.
“The trade in these species threatens their very survival. It is high time that Europe starts to listen to these African countries, who see the populations of elephants and hippos disappear in front of their eyes and plead for better protection”, says Hazekamp. By adopting the proposal of the Party for the Animals, the European Parliament is supporting these new African proposals. The European Parliament also supports proposals for improving the conservation status of endangered turtles and glass frogs.
The party’s proposal to draw up an EU-wide positive list for pets has been adopted as well. Currently, there are only some species that are banned from being kept as pets. A positive list reverses that: it explicitly lists the only animals that will still be allowed to be kept as pets. The number of exotic animal species that can still be kept as pets will drastically decrease as a result, and it prevents having to enact bans for each individual species. The European Commission has promised to research the enactment of such a European positive list. In the Netherlands, a positive list for mammals has already been drawn up, and will go into effect from 2024.