Thousands of animal species are legally traded as pets within the EU. The enormous diversity of these species results in costly, and largely unmanageable, demands in terms of policing the trade, safeguarding animal welfare, protecting human health from exotic pathogens and preventing the spread of invasive alien species. In Belgium, a ‘positive list’ for mammals specifies the 42 species authorised for private ownership and, according to the Belgian Government, has reduced illegal trade and the number of animals in rescue shelters.
1. Will the Commission promote positive lists broadly based on the Belgian example as a ‘best-practice model’ for other Member States? A new, user-friendly, scientific species assessment system called EMODE has been developed to help determine which species are more suitable as pets.
2. Will the Commission promote EMODE, along with other available systems, to assist in establishing positive lists?
1. The EU Regulation on Invasive Alien Species (IAS) will enter into force on 1 January 2015. The regulation prioritises action on IAS of Union concern. Those species shall not be intentionally brought into the Union, kept or bred (including in contained holding), transported, placed on the market, used or exchanged, permitted to reproduce or released into the environment. Member States can maintain or lay down further rules beyond the Union list, i.a. positive lists for pets, providing that this is compatible with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. They will be able to discuss those measures in a dedicated expert group.
2. Member States may find tools such as EMODE useful for raising awareness on animal welfare and public health and safety considerations in relation to pets, but currently the Commission has no plans to promote them.