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Wildlife: Smuggling

Volume 477: debated on Friday 13 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many live animals were seized on entry to the UK in the most recent year for which figures are available; and how many of them were (a) destroyed, (b) repatriated, (c) placed in the care of Government agencies and (d) placed in the care of charities. (210129)

[holding answer 10 June 2008]: There are no central records for the seizure of animals in recent years, although figures may be kept by the appropriate local authority.

Staff from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) seize live animals only in connection with Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora. Data on animals seized under the Regulation are set out in HMRC’s Annual Reports. In 2006-07 there were 39 seizures, comprising 1,229 separate animals.

Animals are only destroyed on the basis of expert advice from qualified veterinarians, who also carry out the necessary euthanasia. Most animals that are seized will be placed into the care of zoos, registered keepers/breeders, breeding programmes, or registered societies.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reasons and on what basis charities taking over care of animals seized on entry to the UK are required to pay fees to take possession of the animals; and if he will make a statement. (210130)

[holding answer 10 June 2008]: Costs may be involved if animals require quarantine. If an owner is not available, the relevant local authority is responsible for paying for an initial two week period. However, rabies susceptible animals have to go into quarantine for a six month period, and these costs must be met or the animals will be destroyed or returned to the exporting country. If there is no owner or importer to claim responsibility for the animals, and charities wish to save the animals from being euthanized—it is the responsibility of those charities to meet the costs of the quarantine period. This is a decision made by the charities, and they would not receive compensation for this from public funds.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether charities taking over care of animals seized on entry to the UK are compensated from public funds for the cost of that care. (210131)

[holding answer 10 June 2008]: Charities are not paid compensation from public funds for care of seized animals on entry to the UK.