§ Lord Molloy
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will make an inquiry into the import of tortoises into the United Kindom in response to the statement of the RSPCA that bad conditions 170WA during transit put the species in danger of extinction; and whether they will make a statement.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Earl Ferrers)
The Transit of Animals (General) Order 1973 governs all transport of tortoises in Great Britain. The revised version of a booklet on the tortoise trade, which was recently published by the RSPCA, indicates that most consignments of tortoises which are imported are packed and transported in accordance with the advisory notes which were issued by the agriculture departments in Great Britain in 1979 after consultations with interested parties.
The level of imports has declined substantially over the last three years, partly as a result of a voluntary quota system operated by importers. The Commission of the European Communities is considering with the member states whether the Community as a whole should restrict or prohibit the import of live tortoises under the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora (CITES).