Global pet trade associations have teamed up with animal keeping organisations to write an open letter in response to calls to end all live animal trade amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Trade bodies from across the UK, Europe, USA and Canada have all added their names to the open letter, which aims to counter the negative and opportunistic campaigns currently being pursued by anti-trade non governmental organisations (NGOs).
Organisations such as Repta, PIJAC, Ornamental Fish International and Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA) have all put their names down in support alongside members of the European Pet Organization and the Sustainable Users Network, the parent organisation for affiliated associations with a broad interest in trade and keeping of non-domesticated animal species.
In the letter, CEO of OATA, Dominic Whitmee said: “We are seeing a growing number of indiscriminate calls from a wide range of NGOs and celebrities who are calling for a ban on wildlife trade, with no heed for what this would actually mean.
“We feel many of the anti-trade NGOs are using the cloak of this undoubtedly concerning and worrying pandemic to further their own political agendas, pursuing this call to stop trade without considering the varied nature of the trade and the consequences of any ban for many of the poorest people on this planet.”
He added: “We know from the work we’ve done highlighting the livelihood and conservation benefits of catching live tropical fish for the home aquarium industry that these types of bans would do untold damage in parts of the world which don’t have the societal safety nets we enjoy in the West. So we wanted to add our voices to what will hopefully be an increasing opposition to these kneejerk and ill-considered campaigns.
“But we also stand firm as a global industry in acknowledging the need to tackle unsustainable use of wildlife and illegal trafficking. As the letter says unsustainable and illegal practices that are harmful to biodiversity taint and demonise the reputation of those who work sustainably and legitimately.
“We support and pledge to work with credible organisations in the fight to develop stronger policies and increased enforcement action across the world to tackle these issues.”