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MEPs declare war on wildlife traffickers

November 25, 2016 12:05 AM

Today MEPs have voted for tough measures to combat the growing trade in illegal wildlife products which is destroying the planet's ecosystem.

Catherine Bearder MEP

Catherine Bearder said "For too long, wildlife traffickers have been getting off with a slap on the wrist."

The report by Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder makes the following recommendations to tackle wildlife trafficking:

  • Minimum prison sentences for wildlife traffickers across the EU by listing wildlife crime as a "serious crime" in accordance with the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC).
  • Including wildlife crime in Europol's 2017 "Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment" - giving it the same priority as drug trafficking, human trafficking and money laundering.
  • Introducing a US style "Lacey Act" at EU level, to ensure that if a protected species in a source country has been illegally harvested from the wild, it is illegal to trade it in its destination country too.
  • Establish an EU Wildlife Trafficking Coordinator to ensure a joined-up effort by the Member countries and Commission services and better and consistent reporting to tackle wildlife trafficking
  • An immediate ban the ivory trade into and out of the EU, including 'pre-Convention' ivory and rhino horns.

Mrs Bearder commented:

"For too long, wildlife traffickers have been getting off with a slap on the wrist. This is a serious and organised crime by efficient and international criminal gangs. They should be facing consistent sentencing across the EU.

"Now that the UK has opted to stay in Europol the government must push for wildlife trafficking to be listed as a "serious and organised" crime.

"Elephants might be extinct in ten years' time at the current rate of slaughter - the public want to see something done about this problem immediately and we must respond to this crisis now.

"The UK government must include "pre-convention" ivory in its plans to ban the "modern day ivory" trade."

ENDS

Notes to Editors

The report can be found here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-%2f%2fEP%2f%2fNONSGML%2bREPORT%2bA8-2016-0303%2b0%2bDOC%2bPDF%2bV0%2f%2fEN

Link to news story: http://www.bearder.eu/meps_declare_war_on_wildlife_traffickers

567 MEPs voted in favour of this report. 5 against.