AAP Animal Advocacy and Protection is happy about the publication by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Positive List for mammals: a list detailing the species allowed to be kept as pets, as well as defining the conditions in which the animals should be kept. The list, drafted after a long and thorough process of risk assessment, includes 123 species. All other mammal species are forbidden.
AAP, the Dierenbescherming and also the Dutch Animal Coalition have been advocating for more than 25 years for such a list as a way to avoid the welfare impairments of many unsuitable pets. Also, there are substantial public health risks involved in exotic pet keeping as well as negative consequences when animals are released or escape and become invasive.
The overall distinction between suitable and unsuitable animals and the fact that the range of species allowed to be kept has been severely limited are extremely welcome moves and should set an important example which others can follow.
However, there are serious concerns about the proposed voluntary character of the keeping requirements which should apply to the 123 species which are now allowed as pets. These requirements are not legally binding in the current draft, nor does it look like the traders have an obligation to provide them to potential buyers. This weakens the preventative component of the Positive List.
David van Gennep, CEO of AAP: “The process towards the list has been thorough and thoughtful, with equal participation of animal welfare organizations, veterinarians and representatives of the pet keepers and traders. AAP has provided the Ministry with advice for the species assessments based on our experience and knowledge. Almost 60 percent of the surrendered or confiscated animals that AAP has rescued in the last 10 years were being kept by private individuals, so we know what we are talking about. Our efforts have paid off, but we cannot celebrate yet, because the welfare of pets cannot be guaranteed when they are not being kept under the right conditions. We just don’t believe that self-regulation in this sector works.”
AAP will submit opinions in the context of the stakeholder consultation process which is now open, and advocate for crucial improvements to the draft decision.
An increasing number of EU countries are showing interest in the Dutch Positive List. The joint AAP-Eurogroup Think Positive Campaign is quickly gaining traction; a recent European Parliament report recommends positive lists as an instrument to regulate the exotic pet trade. “After 25 years, this is the moment to take the definitive step for exotic pets not only in the Netherlands, but also in Europe”, says Van Gennep.
The list and all background information can be found here (in Dutch): www.positieflijst.nl
For more information, please contact Raquel García, firstname.lastname@example.org