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EU agrees to step up the fight against wildlife crime

December 7, 2014 12:01 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Following a campaign led by Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder, the EU's Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella has agreed to step up the fight against wildlife crime.

You can support Catherine in her campaign to stamp out the illegal wildlife trade here.

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In November Catherine wrote a letter co-signed by 81 MEPs calling for an EU Action Plan against Wildlife Crime.

Responding to Catherine's letter Commissioner Vella said he wants the EU "to be at the forefront of tackling wildlife trafficking both domestically and internationally."

Catherine said:

"I'm really pleased the EU is listening and has agreed to step up the fight against this appalling trade.

"We cannot waste time while entire species are wiped off the face of the earth just to satisfy human greed.

"The EU must make ending wildlife crime a priority."

Wildlife crime is now the fourth largest illegal trade in the world, providing significant funding for armed militant and criminal groups and posing a growing threat to global security. Soaring rates of poaching in African countries have seen populations of elephants and white rhinos plummet in recent years.

Catherine and other MEPs are calling for a long-term EU Action Plan that would include a permanent fund to boost efforts to take on poachers, tougher penalties across Europe for wildlife criminals and a new Wildlife Crime Unit in the EU's crime-fighting agency Europol to monitor the trade in the EU.