October 2013

October 2013 Newsletter

Surprisingly Sensible EU Legislation

Reptile keepers can breathe a tentative sigh of relief following the publication of long awaited EU legislation to control invasive species. Experts across Europe were fearful of heavy handed new rules similar to those implemented in Belgium and Holland being rolled our across the continent. However, the new legislation currently appears to comprise a more sensible approach, banning a maximum of up to 50 harmful and invasive plants and animals. The list of banned animals has not yet been compiled or released.

Once compiled and ratified, it will become illegal to keep any plant or animal that is covered by the new legislation. It is thought that ‘grandfather rights’ will be assigned to those who already keep these species, although the full details on how this will operate is not yet known. Individual member states will decide upon the conditions of such ‘grandfather rights’ depending on the specific circumstances of the species and the country in question. The restrictions will likely make breeding, growing and transporting illegal for any banned species other than for scientific purposes.

While the full list of banned species is yet to be compiled, experts believe it is, at present, unlikely that any reptiles will be added. Given the scope of the legislation to include plants an animal across all taxa, it is unlikely that many reptiles, if any, will make the list given the current restriction of 50 species.

However, there is still some concern regarding the provision for each country within the EU to devise its own list of ‘Species of Concern’. Such a list could effectively ban the keeping of any species considered invasive to that particular country.

Chris Newman is the chairman of the FBH and has been invited to participate in the Government’s working group that debates the issue of invasive species. “Hopefully decisions on what will or will not be included on the lists will be based on good science and not speculation.” says Chris. “The UK already has the Non-Native Species Secretariat which is, as far as I am aware, the only EU member state with a specific government department. The NSS generally take a very sensible, balanced and proportionate approach. Other countries may be more radical.”

Definitions

Invasive Species

An invasive species is any plant or animal that is not native and causes damage to the economy or ecology. A species can be non-native without being invasive if it does not cause damage. This legislation addresses only invasive species.

‘White List’

Refers to a list of species that have been approved for ownership. Only species on the list can be legally owned. Belgium currently has ‘White Lists’ legislation for mammals which lists just 41 species that are legal to keep. A similar list for reptiles is expected to be published soon.

‘Black List’

Refers to a list of species that are prohibited. Such lists are less restrictive than ‘White List’ legislation and species are usually included after establishing satisfactory evidence as to their invasive status.

Thank you!

The FBH has been involved in the discussions regarding this legislation since 2008. We would like to thank all of our supporters for their continued commitment to the work and values of the FBH. Without your support and assistance it would be impossible to continue our work.


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