At the moment imports of certain endangered species of animals and plants (or parts or derivatives made thereof) are subject to compliance with the European Union (EU) wildlife regulatory measures. There are several thousand species listed. Protected species list
What will the situation be if we vote to leave? Well like so many things I cannot tell you. Certainly we would not be regulated by the present EU rules.
The EU wildlife legislation, Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 (OJ L-61 03/03/1997) is based on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This comprises a double-checking system involving export and import controls both at the country of origin and at EU level.
However the EU regulations often go further than those imposed by CITES thus giving increased protection to some endangered plants and animals. These are listed in Annex A of the EU legislation; It includes all CITES Appendix I species, some CITES Appendix II and III species for which the European Community has adopted stricter domestic measures, and some non-CITES species
We could produce our own similar legislation based on the existing CITES convention, but that is not certain. If we left the EU before producing new legislation then it would be possible in the interim for rogue importers to start trading. Whether we would opt for the same high level of protection as those the EU now imposes or sign up for less rigorous controls we do not know.
However all is not good with the present EU regulations as at present they do allow the import of hunting trophies like, for example, Cecil the lion. It has to be said that most of this is not carried out by EU citizens, most are American like the sons of Donald Trump pictured here.
France though, has taken positive measures to curb this activity, having banned these imports. Ségolène Royal, the Minister of Ecology, has also stated that her government will seek stricter regulations on import of hunting trophies into the EU. Furthermore, Ms. Royal declared that France will no longer issue reexport certificates for raw tusks and pieces of unworked ivory in an effort to combat ivory trafficking. See France bans lion trophy imports
One has to question how strict the UK would be if we were making our own decisions. Would we take the attitude shown by the French or be more likely to follow the USA?
The problem is, exit would mean everything being renegotiated and no certainties as to what our government would come up with. I prefer the present situation where we know that there is a high level of protection, not perfect but in place and working.
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