Brussels, 18 April 2023 – Today, the European Commission published guidance on the export, re-export and intra-EU trade of captive-born and bred live tigers and their parts and derivatives, a recommendation to Member States to end the commercial trade with live tigers and their parts.
Although not a legally binding document, global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS welcomes the European Commission’s efforts to improve management and control of captive tigers and trade within and from the tiger trade within the European Union to ensure they play a role in the conservation of the species and ensure the unnecessary, commercial trade does not contribute to their demise.
Tigers are still endangered, with approximately 3,900 remaining in the wild. While wild tigers are strictly protected, it is still legal to commercially trade captive-bred tigers and their parts within, into and from Europe. Captive tiger facilities represent a significant conservation and animal welfare problem due to intensive breeding, overcrowding and inappropriate housing, genetic abnormalities, cruel methods for controlling the animals or inhumane slaughtering practices. They serve no conservation value, while also undermining enforcement efforts intended to distinguish and stop the trade in wild tiger products when tiger products move, or leak, to consumer markets.
"FOUR PAWS has been investigating the commercial trade of captive-bred tigers from and within Europe since 2018. Our research shows that Member States do not have an accurate overview of the captive-bred population in Europe and that in some Member States and legal facilities are acting as a conduit for illegal trade. There is no doubt that commercial breeding and trade of tigers and their parts perpetuates illegal trade and therefore to save wild tigers and support enforcement authorities, we must make steps towards ending unnecessary trade in endangered species.”
Kieran Harkin, FOUR PAWS Wildlife Trade Expert
While FOUR PAWS is encouraged with the release of the Guidance, efforts must continue, and Member States now must implement the Guidance. FOUR PAWS is ready to help national competent authorities implement the tiger trade Guidance.
Vanessa Amoroso, FOUR PAWS Head of Wild Animals in Trade, says: “This much anticipated Guidance is encouraging as a crucial step in ending the captive commercial tiger trade within and from Europe – however, it could go much further. We would like to see more requirements for the registering of all tigers, births and deaths within the EU. And greater definitions attached to permitted trade.”
Find more information here about the work of FOUR PAWS fighting the commercial tiger trade in Europe.
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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org