SSPCA Welcomes MEP Backing For Protection Of Wild Birds

13 January 2005
"Protection for wild birds receives Scottish support"

Scots MEP Alyn Smith has offered his support to calls from environmental groups for the European Union to permanently ban imports of wild birds.

NGOs including the SSPCA, Greenpeace and the International Fund for Animal Welfare have issued a declaration asking the European Commission to, "immediately and permanently halt the commercial importation of wild birds."

The European Union Wild Bird Declaration states that:

"Each year, hundreds of thousands of wild-caught birds are imported into the EU. These imports pose serious and substantial risks to the species traded, to the health and livelihoods of European citizens, and to our identities as responsible and humane global citizens."

"Commercial sale on the EU market results in the extraction of these birds from their wild state by methods that are painful, injurious and often lethal."

Speaking as he added his signature to the declaration, Mr Smith said:

"It is shameful that Europe not only allows the importation of wild birds but is now the largest importer of these birds. I call on the Commission to respond to the declaration and announce plans to permanently ban such imports.

"Importing these birds exposes Europe to potential public health dangers, such as avian flu, and forces the birds to endure suffering and cruelty as they are captured and shipped across the world.

"I hope the European Commission will respond positively to this declaration and move to stop this appalling trade. We have given protection to our native wild life we should be certain we are not taking part in the exploitation of species elsewhere."

Responding to Mr Smith's backing for the protection of wild birds Scottish SPCA Chief Executive, Kay Driver said:

"There is extreme cruelty involved in the illegal trade in wild birds, with injury and stress all too often leading to death. When wild birds do survive the trauma of capture and transport, they frequently suffer immensely in captivity. The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is pleased to offer their full support for this declaration. The Society urges all MEPs to support this declaration and thanks Alyn Smith for his backing."