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Animal Welfare: Wild Birds

Volume 689: debated on Tuesday 20 February 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Mr Barry Gardiner, on 24 January (HC Deb, 1806W), and in the event that the current health-based ban on the importation of wild birds into the European Union is repealed or amended, whether they would press for a permanent ban to continue on the conservation and welfare grounds referred to in the Prime Minister's letter to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds of 30 November 2006. [HL1742]

As indicated in the Prime Minister's letter, the primary reason for the ban on the trade on the importation of wild birds is concern about the potential it has to spread avian flu and other diseases. The trade can, if managed unsustainably, also damage wild populations. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, to which the UK and EU member states are parties, has arrangements that aim to regulate trade in some endangered wild birds so as not to be detrimental to their survival in the wild. Before agreeing to any ban on conservation grounds we would need to first consider the effectiveness of those controls. We could not press for a ban on welfare grounds, as this would not comply with World Trade Organisation agreements.