Animal Aid

Wild bird imports into EU banned

Posted 15 January 2007

Animal Aid is delighted by the EU announcement to permanently ban the import of wild birds into Britain and the rest of the European Union. The ban will come into force this year and follows a temporary ban introduced in 2005 amid fears over avian flu.

This important piece of legislation will protect rare species and save the lives of millions of birds. Although the ban is predominantly a result of the risk wild bird imports pose to human health, campaigns highlighting the threat to conservation and the high death toll on captured birds had a significant influence, too.

One million rare birds are trapped and sold annually. Up to 87 per cent of these are imported to Europe. A further four million wild birds are sold worldwide annually. The trade in wild birds has been a significant threat to the possible extinction of one in five species. As well as helping to save species, the ban will spare millions of individuals - 60 per cent of whom die before they reach collectors or pet owners - the appalling distress of capture, confinement and transportation.

Many wild-caught birds ended up in large-scale bird markets (now banned under the new Animal Welfare Act), which Animal Aid and other organisations campaigned against for several years. Unfortunately, the ban will not affect birds who have been reared in captivity. EU-approved countries including the US, Australia and New Zealand, will still be permitted to transport captive bred birds, thousands of miles to the EU for the pet trade.

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