Adoption of EU list of invasive alien species: first step in right direction

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Adoption of EU list of invasive alien species: first step in right direction

15 July 2016
News
This week the European Commission adopted a first list of invasive alien species where action is required across the EU.

The list includes 37 species, which will be prohibited from being traded and kept. The adoption of the Union List represents a first step towards the end of the trade and suffering of millions of animals that are bred for the fur industry or the pet trade. However, Eurogroup for Animals regrets that some of the most problematic species, like the American Mink, haven’t been incorporated. In addition it urges the Commission to develop clear guidance on humane  management methods, including non-lethal practices.

Eurogroup for Animals’ Director Reineke Hameleers commented: “this first list of prohibited species provides a good basis to further build on. We urge the Commission and Member States to expand the list and prioritise the inclusion of exotic pets or fur species that are not yet established in the EU. If the trade continues, these animals represent a serious risk to biodiversity and public health.”

Furthermore, in accordance with the invasive alien species Regulation, Member States when applying management methods should consider non-lethal methods and take the necessary measures to ensure that animals are spared any avoidable suffering. Consequently we urge the Commission to develop and adopt clear guidelines for Member States on the management of invasive alien species on the list, placing emphasis on humane or non-lethal control methods which avoid or minimise pain, suffering and distress.”

The ultimate way to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive alien species through the exotic pet trade would be the adoption of positive lists of allowed pet species, following the example of Belgium and the Netherlands. These lists are precautionary and preventive in nature, giving clarity about which species are allowed to be kept and excluding species that could represent a risk for biodiversity or human and animal health. The adoption of this regulatory system by Member States would then be within the scope of the Regulation, which requires Member States to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive alien species.

Invasion of alien species (IAS) – according to the definition in the EU regulation N.1143/2014 – “species introduced outside their natural range and whose introduction or spread has been found to threaten or adversely impact upon biodiversity”, are recognised as the second major driver to biodiversity loss after habitat fragmentation. The introduction of IAS to Europe is occurring at an unprecedented rate, with many of them introduced intentionally as pets, and on fur farms.

 

For more information please contact:
Ilaria Di Silvestre: T: +32 (0)2 740 08 24 | Email: i.disilvestre@eurogroupforanimals.org

We urge the Commission and Member States to expand the list and prioritise the inclusion of exotic pets or fur species that are not yet established in the EU.
Reineke Hameleers, Director at Eurogroup for Animals
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