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Animals: Nature Conservation

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL9940, tabled on 3 November 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the power to prohibit the holding of specimens including live animals under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora has been removed; if so, (1) why, and (2) what plans they have to reverse any such removal.

Answered on

17 November 2020

The Environment and Wildlife (Miscellaneous Amendments etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 do not lessen government powers or weaken our implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The provision in Council Regulation 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein states that Member States ‘may prohibit the holding of specimens, in particular live animals of the species listed in Annex A’.

Rather than conferring any legislative powers, this provision simply states that EU Member States have discretion to act should it be considered necessary. At the end of the Transition Period, the UK will continue to be able to act, meaning the inclusion of the provision in retained direct EU legislation would be an unnecessary statement of the government’s ability to put in place legislation. Its omission does not lessen existing powers or weaken our controls on endangered species.