EU Positive List event: ending suffering for animals in the pet trade
The event demonstrated the added value of an EU Positive List framework and showcased the important scale and severe harms of the trade in wild animals kept as pets: from animal welfare atrocities, to health and safety risks, to biodiversity loss.
The Positive List is a list of species that are permitted to be traded and/or kept in households. Several Member States have already adopted it, however, we need harmonised rules across the EU to efficiently address issues and concerns arising from the pet trade, including distortions in the internal market.
The European Commission (EC), under the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking is working on a study of the added value and feasibility of an EU positive list. During the event, Pascal Durand MEP (S&D, France) called for the EC to conduct a comprehensive feasibility study and emphasised the political support from both the Council and the European Parliament.
The keynote speech from David van Gennep, Executive Director at AAP, provided the point of view of rescue centres, which deal with a myriad of abandoned wild animals previously kept as pets. The white paper was introduced by Nick Clark, Wildlife Programme Leader at Eurogroup for Animals.
The white paper demonstrates the problems that result from the current EU pet trade, provides explanations on the current legislation and also provides a legal basis and proposal for an EU Positive List. It includes novel research from Sapience and insights from a legal opinion from FratiniVergano.
Manuela Ripa MEP (Greens/EFA, Germany) closed the meeting recalling that an EU Positive List is legally feasible and highly valuable, and highlighted that the feasibility study must include all animals, both taken from the wild and bred in captivity.
What is next?As mentioned by Manuela Ripa MEP, it is crucial for the feasibility study to include all animals, those taken from the wild and captive bred. The study must also assess the Positive List legal feasibility in light of the proposal detailed in the white paper. Finally, the upcoming revision of the animal welfare legislation represents a once in a generation opportunity for animals: a chance to introduce an EU Positive List, and therefore, for the first time, protect the welfare of animals traded and kept as pets.
This system is gaining momentum in several Member States, but an EU system is needed to ensure the welfare of animals across the EU and make sure stronger national laws are not undermined. The white paper clears the way for an EU Positive List by finally answering several essential questions about the legal feasibility. We now urge the EC to take up the feasibility study and include all animals, those taken from the wild and captive bred.”David Van Gennep, Executive Director, AAP
We must move from a system of dominance over wild animals, to one of respect and stewardship of nature. To guarantee their well-being, we should leave animals where they belong, in their natural habitat. We should also not forget health and safety risks and biodiversity loss. The Positive List is a bowling ball that can strike out all of these problems at once.”Nick Clark, Wildlife Programme Leader, Eurogroup for Animals
Households are no place for wild animals, which are robbed of their ability to behave naturally, and suffer physical and psychological harms. The political support for a EU Positive List has grown exponentially in the last year. This is long overdue and the revision of the animal welfare legislation represents a key opportunity to finally enact rules on the welfare of animals kept as pets.”Reineke Hameleers, CEO, Eurogroup for Animals