ABOUT THE ISSUE
Exotic animals are traded as pets, for zoos, and for use in research. The EU is a top importer of tropical fish, reptiles, birds and mammals, with 6.7 million live reptiles imported between 2005 and 2007.
The main animal welfare concerns are related to the considerable suffering entailed in the various steps of the trade: capture, killing methods used, or, in the case of animals sold alive, transportation conditions and keeping conditions at holding centres and at the final destination.
WHAT IS THE CURRENT SITUATION
The trade in wild species threatened with extinction is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and in the EU by Regulation (EC) No 338/97, which includes requirements for live animal transport and accommodations to safeguard their welfare. It also controls the sale and possession of some wild species found within the EU.
However, these rules are frequently not respected, leading to high mortality rates for species being traded. In addition, many species traded in large quantities are not protected under CITES.
WHAT ARE WE CALLING FOR
- A ban on wild-caught animals for the pet trade should be introduced.
- Member States should take action to strengthen enforcement by creating national action plans, providing adequate and resources, stronger penalties, strategies and facilities to handle confiscated animals.
- It should be compulsory for member states to record mortality rates and the resulting statistics made publicly available, along with data on the types and quantity of species being confiscated.
- Member states should limit the type of species that can be kept by private owners.
- Wildlife trade in the EU
- Enforcement study
- Effectiveness study
- Commission recommendations on enforcement action plans
- Council Regulation 338/97 of 9 December 1996
- Commission Regulation 865/2006 of 4 May 2006
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
- Understanding the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations