UK to press for permanent EU ban on wild bird imports
submited by sky at Dec, 3, 2006 19:4 PM from Reuters
Millions of wild birds are trapped and traded each year for pets, bringing several species to the brink of extinction, according to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), a British conservation group.
Parrots, such as the African grey -- famous for its mimicry skills -- have been hard hit by the trade, it says.
The EU temporarily banned imports of captive live birds in October 2005 to strengthen its fight against bird flu. EU veterinary experts extended the ban, which had been due to expire at the end of December, for a further three months on Friday.
Blair wrote to Graham Wynne, chief executive of the RSPB, telling him the British government would press for "the present temporary ban on wild birds being imported into the EU to be extended indefinitely".
"The catching and transportation of birds ... causes unacceptable levels of suffering to the birds and can have a damaging impact on their wild populations," Blair wrote in the letter, copies of which were released by his office.
Blair said there should be exceptions to the ban only for recognised conservation reasons.
The RSPB says it wants the EU to adopt a similar approach to the one used in the United States, where it says the trade is banned unless traders can prove it is scientifically sustainable and benefits conservation.
"We are delighted that the UK is taking this position ... It is shameful that such an obscene trade has been allowed to continue for so long...," Wynne said in a statement
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