Posts Tagged ‘WILDLIFE TRADE’

THE BREAKING POINT REPORT – PRESS RELEASE 22ND MAY 2020

OUTCOME OF THE MEETING BETWEEN BAN ANIMAL TRADING SOUTH AFRICA, THE EMS FOUNDATION AND THE MINISTER OF THE ENVIRONMENT, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES

The Minister of Environment, Barbara Creecy, initiated a meeting with the EMS Foundation and Ban Animal Trading in response to the publication of The Breaking Point Report which highlighted the shameful live wildlife trade between South Africa and China. The meeting was held this morning.

We welcome the Minister’s commitment to investigate the serious issues raised in our Report, within a three month period. 

We also welcome the Minister’s commitment to strengthening the permitting system, her commitment to greater transparency within governmental systems and access to information produced by the Department, and the provinces. The Minister acknowledged that civil society has a role to play in holding government to account and therefore government should be transparent. 

The Minister recognised that national government has the overall responsibility and the obligation to ensure that the system implementing CITES complies with CITES regulations. 

The Breaking Point Report showed the fundamental problems which are systemic in nature and relate to overarching policy issues. We were disappointed that the Minister was not willing to engage in policy discussions at this stage but she did commit to doing so in appropriate forums. 

The Minister would not agree to a moratorium on the international export of live wild animals. We believe a Moratorium is an appropriate first-step response to addressing the expansive systemic problems. Given the degree and nature of the failings of the current system, it would be irresponsible to continue exporting wild animals until the investigation has been completed and the problems have been addressed. For these reasons, particularly given the fallout from COVID-19, we will continue to push for a Moratorium. 

We believe our Breaking Point Report contains sufficient information to enable the Minister and her Department to identify the transgressions immediately. Over and above our Report, which is the tip of the iceberg, the Minister’s Department has all the information to hand to begin with their investigation immediately.  

The organisations agreed to provide the Minister with a Memorandum that will highlight issues to be included in her investigations as well as recommendations that will address the inadequacies in the systemic framework.  

We look forward to the results of the investigation.  As environmental, social justice and animal protection organisations we will continue to speak up for animals and the environment. 

The report can be sourced here: https://emsfoundation.org.za/the-breaking-point-uncovering-south-africas-shameful-live-wildlife-trade-with-china/

Contact Details:

Smaragda Louw , DIRECTOR, BAN ANIMAL TRADING smaragda@bananimaltrading.org

 Michele Pickover, DIRECTOR, THE EMS FOUNDATION michele@emsfoundation.org.za                                                      

                          

                                           

IMAGE CREDIT: BAN ANIMAL TRADING

© 2020 EMS Foundation. All rights reserved.

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THE BREAKING POINT – UNCOVERING SOUTH AFRICA’S SHAMEFUL LIVE WILDLIFE TRADE WITH CHINA

A SPECIAL REPORT BY: The EMS Foundation and The Ban Animal Trading Organisation

17th May 2020

Introduction

The wild animals within the borders of South Africa are part of the heritage of every South African and we have the right to demand that our government protects wild animals against exploitation and to demand accountability from government as to what it does in this regard. Government is empowered by a cogent body of laws to perform this function and it is obliged to do so by international treaties. It is urgently necessary for government to comply with its responsibilities not only because of the ethical, moral and legal compunction to do so but also because the export of our wild animals for the financial gain of a few has become big business.

South Africa has become the largest exporter of live wild animals to Asia, where many wild animals are killed to extract potions from their carcases and are eaten as delicacies. Some are sent to languish in atrocious zoos. Some are inserted into the murky world of the illegal wildlife trade. The reality is that the South African government fails to apply its strong regulatory powers and by design or neglect allows strikingly large numbers of animals to be exported.

The EMS Foundation and Ban Animal Trading, both NGOs, have investigated the export of a large sample of wild animals to China and their findings are set out in the Breaking Point Report which is hereby released. 

The legal trade with China is extensive, with glaring violations overlooked by authorities and benefits flowing to a few wealthy traders. The legal trade also acts as a cover for illicit trade. CITES legal wildlife trade monitoring systems contain extensive loopholes, gaps and opportunities to launder illegal items into the legal market.

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WHO STANDS TO BENEFIT, IF THE WILDLIFE TRADE CONTINUES?

 WRITTEN BY: Jared Kukura

There is a clear divide in the conservation world. Despite most organisations agreeing wildlife trade caused the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no consensus on the path forward.

An open letter released by the Lion Coalition called on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to “release a formal position statement containing clear advice to governments to institute comprehensive and rigorously enforced bans on live wildlife markets and to close down the commercial wildlife trade which poses a risk to public health.”

However, a rebuttal in the form of another open letter addressed to the WHO and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) cautioned against banning wildlife trade. This letter, published by Resource Africa, stated “It is vital that any actions taken are appropriate and lead to socially just outcomes which contribute to – not detract from – the development of economically resilient livelihoods for those hundreds of millions of the world’s most vulnerable who depend on wild resources for their survival.”

On the surface, it sounds like the position taken by Resource Africa’s letter is an appropriate middle ground. They warn not to imperil those impacted most by the current pandemic with a solution that makes their lives even worse. However, the stance taken by the Resource Africa letter fails to grasp a problem inherent in today’s world, economic growth.

Economic growth is not compatible with the conservation of biodiversity. Additionally, people living in rural communities are most at risk of adverse impacts from biodiversity loss and it is clear economic growth is not the answer for improving rural livelihoods.

Promoting wildlife trade as an economic benefit does a disservice to those hundreds of millions of vulnerable people the Resource Africa letter claims to want to help. The Lion Coalition letter has the correct position, we must ban wildlife trade to protect biodiversity and those living in rural communities all around the globe.

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THE FUTURE OF CONSERVATION STARTS WITH WILDLIFE TRADE BANS

WRITTEN BY: Jared Kukura

The Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science (ICCS) released a statement opposing a ban on wildlife trade in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. ICCS advocates for better regulation of wildlife trade in the hope of benefitting people and wildlife.

There are four main objectives in the ICCS’s statement, three of which should be supported by every organisation.

  1. Prevention of illegal, unsustainable, unhygienic and high-stress use of domestic and wild animal species.
  2. Support of well-regulated, sustainable and cruelty-free trade in wildlife, based on evidence that a particular trade is helping to protect wildlife and their habitats against threats whilst meeting livelihoods and food security needs.
  3. Limitation of destruction of natural ecosystems for agriculture, mining, infrastructure development and urbanisation, working towards halting further loss and restoring nature.
  4. Better management of industrial agriculture, to prevent disease outbreaks in humans and livestock, animal welfare issues, pollution of the land and watercourses, and antibiotic resistance.

But the second objective is a missed opportunity to protect wildlife. The ICCS states conservation efforts need to conform to livelihood and food security needs. However, at this stage in the human game, the opposite is needed. Livelihood and food security needs must be met through alternative avenues and must conform to conservation efforts if we wish to protect wildlife.

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EMS FOUNDATION APPEALS FOR MORATORIUM ON THE LION BONE INDUSTRY

Legal Representatives of EMS Foundation Appeal to the South African Government

Letters have been written to the offices of Minister Barbara Creecy, Minister of the Enviornment, Forestry and Fisheries, to the offices of Minister Zwelini Mkhize and the offices of Minister Thoko Didiza.

The letters were sent to the South African government by the EMS Foundation and by their legal representatives Cullinan and Associates.

The subject matter of these correspondences relates specifically to the dangers to human life with regard to diseases and the wildlife trade.

Epidemiologists have long considered a pandemic like COVID_19 to be an inevitability and there is consensus that without massive changes to public health regulation a pandemic of zoonotic origin will happen again.

Until there is more information available about the risks of the captive breeding of lions and other big cats and the lion bone trade, both in terms of human health and to the survival of lions, a risk-averse and cautious approach requires that a moratorium is placed on the industry as outline above.

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