MEP Manuela Ripa (ÖDP) on the European Parliament resolution on wildlife trade

Ripa: “Mandatory introduction of a positive list is necessary”

(Strasbourg/26.11.2022) In a resolution adopted by the European Parliament with a large majority, the EU Commission is invoked to sustainably improve EU regulations for wild and exotic animals kept as pets in the EU. The core part of the demand is the introduction of a scientifically based EU-wide positive list of animals that may be kept as pets under appropriate animal welfare conditions without harming populations in the wild and biodiversity in Europe.

So far, legislation on trade and possession of wild and exotic animals varies widely among EU member states – some groups of animals are not even considered in existing legislation. The introduction of an EU-wide positive list can create clear rules and would leave no room for interpretation for implementation in the Member States. In Germany, hundreds of thousands of wild and exotic animals are offered for sale as “pets” every year – making Germany one of the largest sales markets for exotic pets in the world. “It is unacceptable that there is no political will for the introduction of a positive list in Germany. Germany should take a pioneering role in animal welfare and species protection – no matter in which context!”, Ripa demands.

Animals with an aggressive and dangerous nature, as well as animals that pose a threat to human health, would be excluded from the positive list. In addition, the positive list would not include species for which there is evidence that they pose a risk to the native ecosystem if they escape or get released.

In the EU, ten countries have already decided to introduce a positive list, including France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The introduction of such a list is currently under discussion in a further nine countries. “The Commission should now quickly comply with our demands and make the introduction of a uniform EU-wide positive list mandatory for all Member States. However, in many EU states the provisions that are already in force are not sufficiently applied and implemented. The reason for this is the lack of personnel and the technical competence of the responsible authorities in the EU states. Thus, the core problem for illegal wildlife trade remains the lack of control and prosecution by the authorities. Therefore, an effective enforcement control must be created and the necessary technical and personnel capacities must be provided,” concludes the MEP.

(Background: The call for a positive list was included for the first time in the European Parliament’s EU biodiversity strategy adopted in June 2021. About a year later, 19 member states in the European Council of Agriculture spoke out in favor of the introduction of an EU-wide positive list. The EU Commission is currently examining this proposal).