07/09/21 Unregulated exotic pet trade

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Dear Minister,

On the 3rd of June 2021, as a representative of Animal Friends Croatia, I attended a webinar "Unregulated exotic pet trade in the EU: a threat to health and biodiversity" organized by the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union and co-organized by Eurogroup for Animals and AAP.

The webinar was extremely useful and informative - you can find out more about it from the document attached to this email. In the document, by clicking on the link, you can also see presentations of the participants of the webinar.

Experts, representatives of the European Commission, and representatives of the Member States presented information on the current situation with the illegal trade in exotic animals as pets within the European Union, discussed the risks this trade represents for public health due to zoonotic transmission and the possibility of Covid-20 outbreak and stated the problem of the lack of effective legislation at EU level. It was concluded that a radical turn in the way of solving the problem of illegal trade in exotic animals is necessary, because otherwise the situation, which is already alarming, will soon worsen. They agreed that the best solution is the so-called Positive list - a list of species that can be kept as pets, based on the latest scientific research, as it allows countries to control the trade and reduce the costs they now have for the care of animals people no longer want to keep as pets and invasive animals, and is also a preventive method.

We remind you that Croatia does not have any legal regulation for the trade of exotic animals as pets. When the Animal Protection Act was passed in 2017, the Positive List was included in the Bill but was eventually rejected, although the Veterinary and Food Safety Department had already begun preparations for its introduction and contacted foreign organizations.

In April this year, the Italian Senate approved an amendment to the European Delegation Law, with the positive opinion of the Government, which predicts a ban on captivity and trade in exotic and wild animals and a restriction on the trade of domestic animals. The ban should take effect no later than May 8, 2022.

It is obvious that the EU countries are intensively looking for their own legislative solutions to achieve better control of animal trafficking and greater protection of people and the environment, which Croatia should certainly do as well. We, therefore, appeal to the Ministry of Agriculture to consider the importance and necessity of introducing the Positive List as we can see its usefulness and advantages from the positive examples of countries that have already introduced it.
We are available for more information and we definitely propose an amendment to the Animal Protection Law to include the Positive List and legal regulations of illegal trade in exotic animals.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Kind regards,

Snježana Klopotan Kačavenda
Project coordinator

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