EP stands up for animals “trapped by bad science”

Thursday, 17 November, 2005
Brussels, Belgium
Today, the European Parliament overwhelmingly rejected the Commission Proposal on humane trapping standards for certain animal species and asked the Commission to withdraw it. A large majority of the MEPs criticised the proposal for its lack of a scientific base.
Today’s decision follows the October vote in the Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, which had turned down the Directive proposed by the Commission considering it “very unsatisfactory” and describing it “difficult to improve by means of amendments.”

The main reason for the rejection of the proposal related to the lack of a scientific base for the suggested standards. In the case of killing traps, the proposal considers a trapping method humane if animals undergo a death struggle of up to 300 seconds while technical progress and scientific expertise could reduce this suffering. The proposal also conflicts with several European environmental legal acts, notably the Habitats Directive. As to the derogations foreseen in the proposal, they could ultimately undermine the legislation itself.

The proposal is designed to translate the international agreements concluded in 1996 with Russia, Canada and the United States into EU legislation, although Russia has not yet ratified it. In 1997, the European Parliament rejected the agreement with Canada and Russia by a large majority because of its lack of a scientific base and its poor consideration for animal welfare. However, the Council decided to go ahead and approved the agreement in 1998.

Lesley O’Donnell, Director of the IFAW EU Office said: “The proposed directive contains so many flaws that it simply could not have been adopted. Our scientific review has shown that the proposal fails to achieve the aim of improving the welfare of trapped animals and would have a negative impact on the protection and conservation of non-target species.”

IFAW calls for new coherent, highly protective and strictly monitored legislation, which ensures high standards of animal welfare and is based on the best science.

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