MEPs support animal welfare, but undermine the entire Invasive Alien Species regulation!
Posted on 30/01/2014
Eurogroup for Animals welcomes efforts made by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee to strengthen animal welfare provisions in the Rapporteur Pavel Poc’s Report on the European Commission’s proposal for a Regulation on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species. Unfortunately, several “get out clauses” in the form of derogations for Member States and commercial interests have also been adopted which could render the regulation totally ineffective.
The Commission’s proposal for this regulation aimed at establishing a framework for action to prevent, minimise and mitigate the adverse impacts of invasive alien species (IAS) on biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as limiting social and economic damage.
Eurogroup for Animals in partnership with its member, Humane Society International, has engaged intensely in the debate to convince the EU Institutions to introduce this long overdue regulatory proposal, which is essential for meeting the 2020 Biodiversity Targets. We applaud the support of MEPs to include stronger references on animal welfare as prevention and humane management must be fundamental components of any effective IAS strategy. Among the positive developments adopted were:
- Animal welfare language on humane management, impacts on non-target species, and avoidance of pain, suffering and distress.
- Removal of the 50 species cap and inclusion of taxonomic groups
- Establishment of a Scientific Forum with independent experts to oversee listing, risk assessment analysis and derogation requests
- Acceptance of the polluter pays principle
- Inclusion of public participation and stakeholder involvement
Unfortunately, all of these positive changes are rendered almost entirely ineffective by allowing Member States and commercial interests to be granted derogations from bans and obligations such as restoration. Disappointingly heavy handed campaigning by the Danish fur farming industry may see one of the most invasive alien mammal species, the American mink, given a free pass under this regulation. Furthermore, the text as adopted could open up permitted activities for any commercially valuable plant or animal species on the IAS list of European Union concern.
“Most of the vertebrate invasive species in Europe have been brought here for commercial purposes, either for hunting, fur farming, zoos, the pet trade or angling,” commented Reineke Hameleers, Director at Eurogroup for Animals.
“Granting permits for commercial breeding of invasive animal species will undermine the intention to stop the stop the on-going and increasing trend of invasions,” she concluded.