Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Campaign to Stop Elephant Export Shipments Trumpets Success as EU Changes Position

Born Free Lobby Wins Vote to Ban Heinous Global Trade
Shipping News Feature
AFRICA – SWITZERLAND – WORLDWIDE – Never, since Hannibal crossed the Alps in 218BC, have elephants likely played such an important role in the region after the recent UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Geneva passed a ban to end the barbaric practice of capturing live wild baby and juvenile elephants in Zimbabwe and Botswana, for trade to zoos and circuses around the world.

We reported recently how the European Union had announced it would block the motion to pass the legislation by voting against it. The ban however was supported by a massive groundswell of animal activists including the Born Free Foundation whose mission it is to ensure that all wild animals, whether living in captivity or in their natural environments, are treated with compassion and respect and are able to live their lives according to their needs.

The pressure from lobbyist apparently told as the debate eventually saw the motion to outlaw the shipments passed comfortably after the EU and the proponents of the ban had seen some amendments negotiated. Dr Mark Jones, Head of Policy at Born Free, explained thus:

“After a long and sometimes acrimonious debate at the CITES meeting in Geneva, governments voted, by a majority of 87 in favour to 29 against, to ban the taking of live elephants from the wild from Zimbabwe and Botswana for export to captive facilities around the world except in exceptional circumstances. In the event, the European Union, which had originally opposed the restrictions, changed its vote following intensive negotiations to clarify a number of issues with the African countries that had originally proposed the ban.

“This progressive measure should help bring an end to the trade in young elephants, particularly from Zimbabwe, that are ripped from their families and shipped to zoos around the world where they are condemned to live shortened and often lonely and barren lives. Born Free has worked for a long time to bring this heinous trade to an end. We will continue to work with our partners in Zimbabwe and elsewhere to secure the greatest possible protection for Africa’s remaining wild elephants.

“While this ban is a momentous achievement in itself, it still remains possible for exports to occur for ‘non-commercial’ purposes. The rules around this are complex but nevertheless, while there is more to do, we should celebrate this adoption of a very important principle, and a step towards bringing the global trade in wild-caught live elephants to a permanent end.”