Previously on this blog, I’ve criticized the European Union for continuing to allow the import of wild-caught parrots (including African Greys) which has devastated many species of rare birds. I was never sure why the EU, which his usually a trailblazer in the areas of progressive conservation, was so slow to act to restrict the wild-caught bird industry. The only time that the EU has restricted wild-bird imports has been when “bird flu” was suspected in Europe, with imported birds thought to have been to blame.
I’m happy to say that a permanent ban on wild-caught birds has been instituted, starting in July, in the EU.
Its about time.
The move will replace a temporary ban imposed by Brussels in 2005 as part of measures to prevent outbreaks of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu.
Animal welfare campaigners say the permanent ban will save millions of birds, including many rare species.
Only captive-bred birds from approved countries will be allowed into the EU.
Tighter controls on the health and quarantine of imported birds are also to be imposed.
Campaigners have blamed Europe’s trade in wild birds as a significant factor in the decline of many threatened species such as the African grey parrot.
Before the temporary ban was imposed, about 1.7 million wild birds were imported annually into the EU.
About 60% of the birds caught for import died before they reached Europe from poor handling or disease, Britain’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said.
Even if it is in response to worries about bird flu, rather than purely conservational motivations, its good that this ban will stay. Captive-bred birds not only make much better companions, but do not result in the high death rate and decreased populations that the wild-caught bird industry does. Good for the EU.
(HT: Mustafa Mond, FCD)