The Netherlands introduces new Positive List for mammals


The Netherlands introduces new Positive List for mammals

7 July 2022
A Positive List (a list of allowed species) for mammals has been introduced in the Netherlands, permitting just 30 species to be legally kept as pets in the country. This move will prevent exotic mammals from being kept as pets in unsuitable conditions.

Over 300 mammal species were assessed for the list, making it clear that a large number of species commonly kept as companion animals are unsuited to life in captivity. 

The list is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2024. The Dutch government will now work on the more detailed regulations regarding the practical implementation and enforcement of the list. 

The list of permitted species can be found here.

The introduction of the list won't be retroactive, meaning that current owners of non-listed animal species to keep those animals until the end of their lives.

For 30 years, we have been working hard to get a Positive List in place. It was already decided in 1992 that a list should be established to only allow suitable pets to be kept by private owners. This would replace various prohibition lists that were always lagging behind reality. Previous attempts failed because the Positive List was challenged by an association for owners of exotic pets. Supported by a huge industry of course; a lot of money is involved in the exotic pet trade. We sincerely hope that the Ministry has learned lessons from the past and that the new Positive List will hold up. For countless animals, but also for all rescue centres that struggle to make space to take in all those victims, it’s a hit or miss.
David van Gennep, Director of AAP

Eurogroup for Animals welcomes the news, and supports the Positive List mechanism as the most effective, concise, transparent, enforceable and economically feasible way of tackling the exotic pet trade. We congratulate AAP for their continued efforts in securing this list, applying their 50 years of experience in rescuing exotic mammals from private ownership, entertainment or illegal trade to find an effective solution to the trade in exotic animals. 

In May, at the meeting of the Council of the European Union (Agriculture and Fisheries) a position paper was submitted by Cyprus and co-signed by Lithuania, Luxembourg and Malta, calling for the European Commission to explore the potential benefits of an EU wide positive list. The paper was supported by a vast majority of Member States, and demonstrates an understanding of the need to regulate the pet trade in a precautionary way across the EU.