Need for EU legislationon exotic pet trade

At monthly hearing of the European Parliament Animal welfare intergroup David van Gennep, CEO AAP Animal Advocacy and Protection foundation (AAP), explained the profound need in regulating exotic animal trade, limiting the list to 42 allowed spices in the European Union, thus creating the ‘positive list’. The exotic animals as pets fashion is a rise, so is the trade in the species, however the overwhelming majority of them can not be adapted to life in captivity, suffering in misery,  being moved from cage to cage, changing owners and caretakers. Many of the exotic pets are tormented by various diseases, related to the unsuitable conditions, lacking space, proper diets and even sunshine. Some of them are transmitting bacteria and viruses, representing danger to humans. Public health and security remain the compromised issues, victim to whims of some individuals, eager to compensate their own mediocrity with the exotic pets colorful identities.

Unfortunately barbaric tradition to keep exotic animals as pets in captivity is booming in Europe nowadays due to the e-commerce, facilitating the purchase. High popularity of pictures with exotic species  is also a lucrative business for their  owners, careless, and often negligent to the particular spices needs,  exploiting the animal to maximum profit along the dramatically shortened lifespan.

‘With the growing popularity of exotic pets we can not help all the suffering and abandoned animals, the only way out is to address the root causes of the problem, and put in place the legislation, establishing the positive list of allowed exotic pets across the EUDavid van Gennep said, calling the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to ensure  the proper legal framework for resolving the issue of exotic pets. Dutch APP foundation, led by Mr.Gennep, aims at long-term solutions for improving the welfare of these exotic, non-domesticated animals, and in this regard the proper European legislation is the relevant solution for the animals and communities in Europe and beyond.

Some of the exotic pet trade is legal, selling spices bred in the EU, but increasingly the animals are captured from the wild illegally (often in Africa) to supply for the European demand for exotic pets, fueling the multi-billion global black market. Some owners discover themselves unable to provide for the pets, when they rapidly grow, and intentional releases of exotic pets are increasingly common in Europe, exposing animal to long agony and painful death. Not less catastrophic  is the other outcome of the irresponsible behavior, when the abandoned animal does not die from starvation or exposure to harsh conditions, but finds a mate to proliferate producing invasive species to detriment of the ecosystems.

Furthermore the exotic pet trade is the contempt to the EU Lisbon Treaty, enshrining animal welfare as “European value“. The Lisbon Treaty, in force from December 1st 2009, includes animal sentience as an Article. It means that recognition of animals as creatures having ability to feel is now in the main body of the Treaty, establishing responsibility of the governments of the EU member-states towards the animals, and requesting the humane treatment of them.

The hearing of the Intergroup chaired by Anja Hazekamp  MEP (GUE/NGL) took place on October 24 in Strasbourg during Plenary week #EPlenary of the European Parliament.

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