HC Deb 12 January 2004 vol 416 c493W
Mr. Drew

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research has been(a) undertaken and (b) commissioned by her Department on (i) illegal animal movements, (ii) illegal culling of wildlife and (iii) illegal hunting of protected species. [146567]

Mr. Bradshaw

It is not apparent from the question whether my colleague's interest relates to research into wild native species, exotic non-native species or agricultural animals. The answer below therefore reflects the wide range of activities that Defra undertakes.

(i) Illegal animal movements

The Animal Movement Licensing System (AMLS) highlights any reports of potentially illegal movements of cattle, sheep, goats and pigs so that local authority Trading Standards Officers can investigate them and take any necessary enforcement action.

(ii) Illegal culling of wildlife

The Department has not specifically undertaken or commissioned research into the illegal culling of wildlife. However, an assessment was made of the potential impact of this activity on certain birds of prey raptors as part of the UK Raptor Working Group, chaired by Defra (then DETR) and the JNCC, which reported in 2000.

(iii) Illegal hunting

The Department's responsibilities include protection of wildlife through regulation of trade in those endangered species listed on the Appendices to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). Research has been commissioned to contribute to an assessment of the impact of exploitation, especially by poaching and illegal trade, on the conservation status of the CITES listed musk deer in the far east of the Russian Federation and to inform future conservation management.

Through the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) the Department supports the network of Police Wildlife Crime Officers, which investigate reports of illegal culling and other breaches of wildlife law.

In addition to our support of the Police, the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIiS) investigates suspicious wildlife deaths in relation to the misuse, abuse and approved use of pesticides. The scheme is run by the Pesticides Safety Directorate and funded by government and through a levy on the pesticides industry.