We are delighted that the European Parliament is calling for tougher action on wildlife crime.
Rhino 2On Wednesday 15th January, the European Parliament announced it is backing an EU Resolution in Illegal Wildlife Crime.
The Ministers of the Environment Parliament (MEPs) are recognising the role of highly organised international criminal gangs in the trafficking of wildlife, which are causing the destruction of animal populations worldwide.
As a result of the resolution, the EU Parliament will urge all member states to stiffen penalties, enforce legislation and shut down trade routes to clamp down on the global illegal wildlife trade.
According to the European Parliament:
Wildlife crime is the fourth largest illegal activity in the world, after drug trafficking, counterfeiting and human trafficking, with an annual turnover of at least US$ 19 billion.
The MEPs voted on the resolution, which was passed with 647 votes in favour and 14 against. There were no abstentions.
The resolution is non-binding, meaning countries don’t have to agree to it. However the EU Parliament will urge all member states to stiffen penalties, enforce legislation and shut down trade routes in the global illegal wildlife trade. Specific actions include calls for:
– The destruction of ivory stockpiles by EU member states and a ban on commercial ivory imports
– Increased prosecution rates and punishments for those involved in wildlife trafficking
– The establishment of a Wildlife Crime Unit within Europol
– Dedicated training for all enforcement officers and the appointment of specialised wildlife crime prosecutors.
In addition, MEPs have called on EU officials to integrate the protection of wildlife into all of its policies, including trade talks with key countries such as Vietnam, China & Thailand. They have urged officials to make international wildlife crime a priority when shaping EU aid and development policies, which means that countries would have to demonstrate action to tackle wildlife crime before receiving funds from the EU.
Speaking on the subject, Dutch politican Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy said:
If we don’t take radical measures very quickly to stop these illegal practices, there will soon be no more of these iconic animals living wild anywhere on earth. We must treat this slaughter as organised crime, just like the illegal drug trade
Sources
European Parliament Press Release http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20140110IPR32425/html/Wildlife-crime-MEPs-call-for-tougher-penalties