Campaigners are today celebrating a decision by EU animal health experts to permanently end the commercial importation of wild birds into the European Union for the pet trade. Under the new rules, which form part of a strategy to combat avian influenza, only imports of captive-bred birds will be permitted.
The Animal Protection Agency (APA), which campaigns against the trade in
wild animals as pets, has expressed its delight. Director, Elaine Toland
"This far-reaching measure is long overdue. As well as removing a very serious and unnecessary threat to human health, this ban has secured vital protection to wild bird populations the world over. It means another huge blow to a barbaric and wasteful trade that was driving many bird species rapidly towards extinction."
The European Union was by far the largest importer of wild birds. According to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) figures, in the last ten years the European Union imported an average of 1.7 million birds per year, which accounted for 87 per cent of the recorded global trade. Hundreds of organisations all over the world, which had called for the permanent ban on EU wild bird imports, will welcome today's news
APA acknowledged the central role of the RSPB in securing the support of the UK Government for a permanent ban. In a letter from Tony Blair to the Society, he acknowledged that the "catching and transportation of wild birds causes unacceptable levels of suffering to the birds and can have a damaging impact on their wild populations."
The wild bird trade in the UK was notorious as having fuelled large-scale bird markets, which last October the Government proposed to ban in forthcoming legislation.
Issued: January 1, 2007