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|Thursday 16th January 2003, 18:41||#1|
MORLEY TOUGHENS ACTION AGAINST ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADERS
DEPARTMENT FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS News Release
(17/02) issued by the Government News Network
New proposals to tighten up and strengthen the controls on trade in
species in the UK - and more than double maximum prison sentences -
announced today by Nature Protection Minister Elliot Morley.
Mr Morley praised HM Customs and Excise Officers for their work in
intercepting consignments at UK ports and airports but said he wanted
to set in
place tougher measures to deter criminals from undertaking this trade
first place and increase penalties for internal trade within the UK.
With this aim in mind, the Minister launched today a public
ways to tighten the Control of Trade In Endangered Species
Regulations 1997 (COTES).
Mr Morley said:
I am determined to develop an effective deterrent against those
by their disgraceful activities, are threatening the world's most
species. I want the police and Government Wildlife Inspectors to have
strengthened powers and for those criminals to face higher penalties.
The consultation paper suggests strengthening the powers of the
Government Wildlife Inspectors, and increasing the penalties for
in wildlife within the UK from the current maximum two-year prison
sentence to a
maximum of five years.
Trade controls on endangered species are enforced in two main ways.
export controls are enforced by HM customs and Excise officers under
provisions of the Customs and Excise management Act 1979. Trade
the UK are enforced primarily by police officers under the Control of
Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997 (COTES). These are
of this review. The consultation ends on 4 April.
Mr Morley said:
I hope everyone affected by these proposals will send in their
then we can develop a truly effective deterrent to help halt this trade
tracks. I am determined to toughen up the regulations and want the
authorities to be able to throw the book at these criminals.
The consultation follows other recent work done by the Department
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to crack down in illegal trade in
In November, the Department launched, with the Magistrates'
Association, a new
information toolkit covering many aspects of environmental crime,
for the first time - sentencing guidance on wildlife crimes. And in
the Department launched the National Wildlife Crime Intelligence Unit.
Government gave £440,000 to ensuring that the Unit was firmly
able to make a real impact on the most serious illegal wildlife trade
1. Enforcement provisions for offences relating to native species
by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 were strengthened last year by
Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (in England and Wales). Some of
proposals included in the consultation package would bring controls on
endangered species worldwide (which are covered by the EC Wildlife
Regulations) in line with those in domestic legislation.
2. The current maximum penalty for COTES offences is two years
Examples of COTES penalties which have been handed down include:
In 1996, a number of traditional East Asian Medicine retailers
one for £3,000, for the illegal sale of endangered species derivatives
medicinal products; in 1997, an eight month jail sentence for the
of Eleonora's falcons; and a £1,500 fine for the illegal sale of 138
shawls made from the fleece of the Tibetan antelope.
3. More substantial penalties are avai
lable under the Customs and
Management Act 1979 for import offences - as opposed to internal trade.
current maximum penalty is seven years imprisonment. Under this
last year, a man was imprisoned for six and a half years for illegally
birds of prey from Thailand.
The consultation document can be found on the Defra website.
|Thursday 16th January 2003, 21:20||#2|
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Devon UK
Good to hear all that, the illegal trade should be stamped out as it causes a lot of suffering to the animals and birds involved.
There would not be any need for such laws at all if there were no punters willing to buy illegally imported creatures. But such is life, there will always be a need for a law to keep us (as a species!) in order.
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