IAR presses exotic pet trade issue in Brussels
International Animal Rescue representative Max Farrugia attended the fourth annual conference of ENDCAP (a European network of wildlife protection groups and specialist consultants), which took place from 9 – 11 November in Brussels.
As Co-Chair of the Trade and Capture of Wildlife Committee, Max raised several key points related to curbing the trade in wild animals as pets and received good support.
The new reptile trade film, 'A Far Cry from Nature' – a joint project of IAR and the Animal Protection Agency (APA) - was screened and its contents explained by Elaine Toland, APA representative at the conference. Following the screening, the campaign to tackle the reptile trade in Germany was discussed at length. It was also agreed that IAR and APA would lend their expertise to the German welfare groups and that German authorities needed to be reminded of the risks to animal and human health from exotic animal markets. A number of MEPs from various countries showed interest in exotic pet trade issues and asked for copies of the film, as did TV stations and journalists.
International Animal Rescue has also agreed to jointly commission a report that would help curb the trade in exotic pets in Norway. For a number of years Norway has set an example to the rest of Europe by enforcing a ban on the keeping of reptiles and amphibians as pets. Recently, however, the Norwegian government has come under pressure from animal dealers and this ban is now in jeopardy.
Organisations representing several countries agreed to step up their public education campaigns to dissuade people from buying exotic pets.
A proposed draft report detailing guidelines for wild animal sanctuaries prepared by IAR Malta, the Born Free Foundation, Arcturos of Greece and Animal Public of Germany outlines the requirements for managing wildlife sanctuaries. Problems arising from this report concerning wild animal sanctuaries and sub-standard zoos were also discussed in depth during the conference. Following the discussions several amendments were made to the guidelines.