05/15/21 Italy bans the import and trade of wild and exotic animals!
Good international news and a commendable move to protect animals and human health
- Animal Friends Croatia is asking for the induction of a list of animals that can be kept as pets
Parrots, armadillos, reptiles, amphibians, and other exotic animals will no longer be imported and kept in Italy. The Italian organization LAV announced that the Italian Senate had approved a ban on the import, detention, and trade of exotic and wild animals, as well as a restriction on trade in domestic animals. The deadline for the ban to enter into force is May 8, 2022. They state that Italy has thus taken a major and concrete step forward in protecting animals and human health, as well as in preventing epidemics and pandemics.
Animal Friends Croatia welcomes this decision given that animals suffer immensely in breeding, trade, transportation and, ultimately, in captivity. In addition, wildlife is a reservoir of many diseases that can spread and evolve into pandemics. This decision seeks to achieve effective prevention of the spread of viruses and zoonoses from animals to humans, those that have been torn from their natural environment or bred in captivity, so as not to return to the same mistakes that led humanity to develop and spread many epidemics and pandemics, such as SARS, MERS, and COVID-19.
"We know that some of the most serious zoonoses are associated with exotic or imported animals and that wild animals transmit about 72% of zoonoses. It is also known that legal and illegal trade in wild birds has played a significant role in the global spread of bird flu, which in 2007 resulted in a ban on imports of wild-caught birds into the European Union. Therefore, it is necessary to reduce, as much as possible, contact with wild and exotic animals because there is a very close interdependence between human health, animal health and the environment", emphasize Animal Friends Croatia.
They say that animal protection organizations have been warning for years that the illegal trade in wild and exotic animals is on the rise and that it is a business with a turnover of about 12 billion euros a year. The huge additional costs come from fighting illegal trade and treating wildlife diseases, slaughtering thousands of "domestic" animals to prevent the spread of disease, and catching and eradicating invasive species that occur when humans release an exotic pet into the wild after they get bored of it. The organizations ask the European Commission to adopt measures as soon as possible to effectively combat such trafficking, taking into account animals sold online.
Animal Friends Croatia has been pointing to this problem for years. During the adoption of the Animal Protection Act in 2017, the proposal of the Association to introduce in Croatia the so-called Positive list, that is, a list of species that could be kept as pets was even included in the bill, but was eventually rejected due to pressure from the pet industry lobby. Such a list is already in force in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, while many other EU countries are considering its introduction. A positive list, which would allow the keeping of only some species, enables better control of animal trafficking and greater protection of people and the environment.
The Association explains that for many species, especially exotic animals, life in captivity can be tragic because it is extremely difficult or even impossible to ensure their well-being and long-term specialized care, nutrition, and accommodation. This can lead to serious problems in the ability to keep these animals, so people often discard them in nature where they cannot survive or become invasive, which in turn can be detrimental to biodiversity and human and animal health. Common examples are exotic pets suffering from inadequate nutrition, injuries from improper use of artificial heating/light, behavioral problems, and inappropriate medical care, about which quality information is often lacking.
Therefore, Animal Friends Croatia in their letter to the Ministry of Agriculture states that they consider it necessary for other countries, especially Croatia, which has almost no regulations, to join Italy in the decision to ban the import and trade of wild and exotic animals. In addition, the introduction of a Positive List of animals that can be kept as pets would be a big step forward for Croatia.
"Again, we urge everyone not to buy animals, but to adopt a dog or cat instead!" With concrete legal provisions and an increase in awareness of the unacceptability of buying and keeping animals, the great suffering of animals can be stopped and new pandemics prevented,” conclude Animal Friends Croatia.