Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

EU takes strong resolution on protection of species

European Commission and Member States Urged to Heed Parliament's Position on CITES Species Proposals

(STRASBOURG) - 6 Feb. 2013 - Humane Society International welcomes the European Parliament's adoption of a strong Resolution on the European Union strategic objectives for the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora to be held in Bangkok, Thailand from 3 to 14 March.

In particular, HSI applauds MEPs' support for the much-needed proposals to transfer both the polar bear and West African manatee to CITES Appendix I - thereby banning all international trade in these species -- and to regulate the trade in various shark species and Manta rays through inclusion on CITES Appendix II.

"Humane Society International is delighted that the European Parliament has adopted a strong Resolution with regard to the EU's preparations for the upcoming CITES meeting," says HSI EU Director Joanna Swabe, Ph.D. "Humane Society International strongly urges the Commission and EU Member States to pay due regard to the Parliament's position, especially given that it reflects the views of millions of EU citizens and numerous animal protection organisations who are calling for far stronger protection for many species of animals, such as polar bears, rhinos, elephants, manatees, sharks and Manta rays against the impact of international commercial trade."

In addition, the Parliament's Resolution also includes calls for EU Member States to support proposals to increase protection for additional species, such as New Zealand green geckos and various species of turtles and tortoises from North America and Asia, which are negatively impacted by trade, particularly the exotic pet industry. Furthermore, the Resolution also draws attention to various procedural matters within CITES, such as the excessive use of secret ballots, which the Parliament strongly opposes.

HSI hopes that the EU Member States will heed the Parliament's views while finalising their draft position on CITES proposals, even though the directly elected representatives of EU citizens do not formally have a role in the internal EU CITES decision-making process. The Parliament's vote took place at the same time as the Council of the EU's Working Party on International Environmental Issues met to consolidate their draft common position.

The 27 EU Member States form a voting bloc that will play a vital role in the CITES decision-making process. The Council's final decision will be adopted later this month, but it will not be made public given that it is viewed as a strategic negotiating document.

Humane Society International/UK and its partner organisations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organisations. For more than 20 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide.