The Intergroup on Welfare and Conservation of Animals met today to discuss the progress and the effects of the implementation of the EU Regulation on invasive alien species. Four months after the European Commission’s adoption of a first list of 37 invasive alien species of Union’s concern, Members of the European Parliament discussed this controversial issue with representatives of the European Commission and of conservation and animal welfare NGOs.
The meeting was opened by a presentation of Myriam Dumortier, Policy Officer for Biodiversity at DG ENV, European Commission on the progress in the implementation of the EU Regulation on invasive alien species, explaining that Member States are presently considering the inclusion of 14 additional species in the list, and that the whole process is run in very transparent way. Progress can be followed through the Commission website.
Laura Moreno Ruiz, Biodiversity Programme Officer at WWF, presented the conservation benefits of the EU Regulation. “Invasion of alien species –species introduced outside their natural range and whose introduction or spread has been found to threaten or adversely impact upon biodiversity – are recognised as the second major driver to biodiversity loss after habitat fragmentation” Ms Moreno Ruiz said. “Invasive alien species affect also the EU ecosystem services and economy. The EU Regulation may effectively contribute to prevent, minimise and mitigate the adverse impacts of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species in EU. However, the positive impact of this Regulation will depend on the length and the political ambition of the list of species of Union concern which so far only includes 2% of the existing invasive alien species of Europe”.
Ilaria Di Silvestre, Programme Leader Wildlife at Eurogroup for Animals presented the main consequences of the EU Regulation on the welfare of the targeted species. “The adoption of the Union List represents a first step towards the end of the trade and suffering of millions of animals that are bred for the fur industry or the pet trade” she said. “We are however seriously concerned by the attempts made by the fur industry to avoid that fur species, like the raccoon dog, are included in the list: this would significantly weaken the Regulation and only lead to more significant animal welfare problems and greater threats to biodiversity in the long run”.
Ms Di Silvestre added that “according to the invasive alien species Regulation, Member States should apply management methods that consider non-lethal methods and take the necessary measures to ensure that animals are spared any avoidable suffering. We urge then the Commission to develop and adopt clear guidance for Member States on the management of invasive alien species on the list, placing emphasis on humane or non-lethal control methods”.
The presentations have been followed by a debate with Intergroup Members including Pavel Poc (S&D, CZ), the EP rapporteur for this dossier.
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