HL Deb 14 October 1991 vol 531 cc98-100WA
Lord Brougham and Vaux

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will announce the outcome of the study of the wildlife trade by the joint Nature Conservation Committee and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Baroness Blatch

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee submitted their report on 31st July, and copies are available in the library of the House. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has just submitted a report which reaches similar general conclusions and makes detailed recommendations on plants. We will make this available as soon as possible.

The JNCC's report gives unequivocal support for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, (CITES), which is the foundation for the conservation controls on the trade throughout the European Community and most of the rest of the world. The committee has made some wide-ranging recommendations for tightening the present controls—these deserve scrutiny throughout the European Community and beyond.

The Government shares the concern that has been expressed not only about the possible effects of trade on wild populations, but also about the conditions in which animals—especially birds—are transported. My Right Honourable friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, has already been pressing hard for improvements in transport conditions on a community basis.

My honourable friends the Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State for the Environment and Agriculture, Fisheries and Food have therefore written to the European Commission today, urging it to propose that the community takes steps to:

Strengthen measures to prevent illegal trade in endangered species and to ensure that specimens of the species are used to bring conservation benefits;

Make more systematic checks on the trade in species whose survival might become threatened to ensure that it continues only at sustainable levels;

Monitor trade in more species;

Make sure that appropriate care is taken of all species in CITES;

Strictly control trade in any species which are particularly vulnerable to stress and mortality as a result of transport and captivity.