Animals: Nature Conservation

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 17th November 2020.

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Photo of Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the power to prohibit the holding of specimens including live animals under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora has been removed; if so, (1) why, and (2) what plans they have to reverse any such removal.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The Environment and Wildlife (Miscellaneous Amendments etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 do not lessen government powers or weaken our implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The provision in Council Regulation 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein states that Member States ‘may prohibit the holding of specimens, in particular live animals of the species listed in Annex A’.

Rather than conferring any legislative powers, this provision simply states that EU Member States have discretion to act should it be considered necessary. At the end of the Transition Period, the UK will continue to be able to act, meaning the inclusion of the provision in retained direct EU legislation would be an unnecessary statement of the government’s ability to put in place legislation. Its omission does not lessen existing powers or weaken our controls on endangered species.

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