“The appearance of a supposed lioness roaming the streets of Berlin raises concerns for both the public's safety and the welfare of the animal. It is very likely that the animal, who must be under great stress currently, is privately owned since there have been no reports from zoos or circuses about a missing animal.This incident highlights the need for Germany to implement nationwide regulations governing the private keeping and trade of exotic animal species. Wild animals simply are not suited for private ownership, which is why political action is urgently needed. As the German Animal Welfare Act undergoes revision, there is a unique opportunity to establish a positive list that would regulate the trade and private keeping of exotic pets across the nation. Germany's position as one of the world's largest markets for wild animals as pets demands effective measures to counteract the ease with which potential buyers can acquire animals through online platforms and exchanges, often bypassing necessary controls and purchasing animals at low prices.The problem is not confined to Germany alone; inconsistent legislation among EU countries fosters the easy purchase and cross-border movement of big cats, perpetuating their presence as status symbol pets and social media attractions. Many traders do not care where the animals end up, but their care requires species-specific knowledge and keeping conditions. The fact that the governments in Germany and other EU countries tolerate the trade and keeping of dangerous wild animals, potentially posing a danger to the public, is not only a severe animal welfare issue but also an act of gross negligence.Our research reveals that Member States lack an accurate overview of the captive-bred big cat population in Europe. This ongoing commercial breeding and trade of lions, tigers, and other big cats contributes to illegal activities. Consequently, increased efforts to end the unnecessary trade of endangered species to safeguard wild big cats and support enforcement authorities must be implemented. The recently published EU Tiger Guidance offers a critical opportunity to enhance controls on the commercial trade of captive tigers. If implemented by Germany and other member States, it will essentially end the trade of tigers and their parts for commercial purposes, including tigers kept as pets or used for entertainment.We hope that the supposed lioness in Berlin can be captured without any harm caused to the public or the animal and urge EU decision makers to end the commercial trade of big cats in the EU, to spare thousands of animals the sad fate of cruel keeping conditions and exploitation for entertainment, or worse."
Vanessa Amoroso, Head of the Wild Animals in Trade unit at FOUR PAWS
FOUR PAWS has been investigating the commercial trade of captive-bred tigers and other big cats from and within Europe since 2018.
Read more about the EU Tiger Guidance here: https://www.four-paws.org/our-stories/press-releases/four-paws-welcomes-the-eus-release-of-new-tiger-trade-guidance
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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