Tiger in a cage

European Commission sets out new plan to stop the illegal wildlife trade

New measures include consumer demand reduction to help stem wildlife trade


Brussels, 10 November, 2022 – The European Commission has set out its Revision of the EU action plan against wildlife trafficking which outlines a comprehensive package of measures to tackle the illegal wildlife trade.

The key revisions are reducing consumer demand for illegally traded wildlife, improving access to care for seized or confiscated live animals by expanding networks of specialised rescue centres at the national level, whilst sharing information about the centres at EU level. As well as adopting a ‘One Health’ approach to be considered in the context of regulating wildlife trade in source, transit and destination countries.

Earlier in the year, FOUR PAWS, the global animal welfare organisation, participated in the public consultation and stakeholder meeting on the revision of this important Action Plan, highlighting the need to raise awareness to address both legal and illegal trade in captive-bred endangered species, such as tigers and other big cats. As well as the need for EU guidance to help Member States on how authorities can better manage confiscated or seized wild animals with the expansion of a true sanctuary network.

Vanessa Amoroso, Head of Wild Animals in Trade at FOUR PAWS said, “We are encouraged by the actions anticipated in the revised Action plan and to see that work will begin on demand reduction, which of course will help stem wildlife trade. It is also promising that further investigations will be made into the implementation of Positive List legislation, which can contribute to ending the commercial trade of big cats, such as tigers, and other wild animals. As an animal rescue organisation, we are delighted to see more support for extended sanctuary work – giving wild animals species appropriate carefree from exploitation for the rest of their lives."

“Only last month MEPs voted in an overwhelming majority to end the illegal wildlife trade in the European Parliament which means the next steps must be a clear and efficient timetable for implementation from the Commissions side. Because there is no time to wait, despite some success throughout the five years of the Action Plan's implementation, one of the biggest challenges to the conservation of species remains wildlife trafficking.”

Vanessa Amoroso, Head of Wild Animals in Trade at FOUR PAWS


Revision of the EU action plan against wildlife trafficking: https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12675-Preventing-illegal-trade-in-wildlife-revision-of-EU-action-plan_en

In February 2016, the European Commission adopted a Communication on the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking which sets out a comprehensive blueprint for joined-up efforts to fight wildlife crime inside the EU, and for strengthening the EU's role in the global fight against these illegal activities. The plan has three main strands – better enforcement, enhanced cooperation, and more effective prevention. The Action Plan runs until 2020 and is being implemented jointly by the EU (Commission services, EEAS, Europol, Eurojust) and its Member States.

Last December, a public consultation period invited citizens, key stakeholders and organisations to provide evidence and share views on the effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and EU added value of the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking.

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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

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