HC Deb 05 February 1996 vol 271 c40W

Mr. Tyler: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to implement European Union regulation 3254/91 requiring a ban on the import of furs from animals caught in leghold traps; and if he will make a statement. [13590]

Mr. Clappison

The UK wishes to see leghold traps phased out as quickly as possible, and has strongly supported the EU regulation introduced in 1991 for this purpose. We have expressed our disappointment with the Commission's proposal to postpone the ban on import of furs caught by leghold traps, and have urged it to bring forward stronger measures. However, the 1991 regulation requires the Commission to determine which countries have met the conditions to import furs into the Community. Since this has not been done, and the necessary implementing measures have not been adopted, there is some doubt as to whether member states would be acting lawfully if they attempted to implement a fur import ban on 1 January 1996. In view of this, and the absence of routine controls in intra-Community trade, the Government have reluctantly concluded that it would not be appropriate to implement the ban.