Opinion Former Article

IFAW calls on Government to implement Environment Audit Committee Review Recommendations on wildlife crime

(London – 18 October 2012) – The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) welcomed the Environment Audit Committee Review Recommendations on wildlife crime, which were published today.

The report contains recommendations on better law enforcement to protect both native wildlife and endangered species from illegal trade and other wildlife crimes.

Key recommendations outlined in the report include:
•       the need for continued funding of the National Wildlife Crime unit including long-term financial support of wildlife crime on the Internet
•       a CPS review of wildlife crime prosecutions with a view to employing specialist wildlife crime prosecutors or providing training for general prosecutors
•       a Government review of the available penalties on wildlife crime and the introduction of sentencing guidelines for the judiciary and training for magistrates on the issues

IFAW was also pleased that the Committee urged the Government to take a leading role at CITES to develop and enforce wildlife law and encouraged it to focus attention on the damaging effects of ivory stockpile sales.

The Committee’s tough demands were endorsed by IFAW which now urges the Government to respond quickly and to ensure that the Review recommendations are taken forward. IFAW is also calling for the Government to further commit to a timetable for implementation of these measures.

IFAW works to tackle wildlife crime in the UK by campaigning for better enforcement of animal protection laws, lobbying key opinion formers for tougher sentencing and more robust legislation, as well as training enforcement officers and raising consumer awareness. As part of this work, IFAW was delighted to have been asked to input into the Review and gave written evidence and two accounts of oral evidence to the Committee.

The EAC report is particularly timely with the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections taking place next month. IFAW is therefore urging all candidates to make a firm commitment to tackling wildlife crime so that all forces view it as a priority and that they further endorse the Committee’s recommendations.

Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: “IFAW welcomes the firm stance of the Committee and we are looking to the Government to offer a speedy and comprehensive response which will result in the Committee’s recommendations being taken forward. We would also like to see a strict timeline for bringing in these measures.

“Also with Police and Crime Commissioner elections next month, this is a key time for prospective candidates to make a commitment to fighting wildlife crime, an issue that is close to the hearts of many of their constituents. We hope the election of supportive PCC candidates will ensure that all forces view wildlife crime as a priority and that they further endorse the Committee’s recommendations.”

Ends

Notes to Editors:

For more information, photos or to arrange interviews please contact Clare Sterling in the IFAW UK Press Office on +44 (0)20 7587 6708, mobile +44 (0)7917 507717, email csterling@ifaw.org or alternatively visit www.ifaw.org

Media can request an embargoed PDF copy of the report by contacting Nicholas Davies on 020 7219 3297 or by email at DAVIESNICK@parliament.uk

Volume I and Volume II (containing unprinted written evidence) will be available on the Committee’s website, from 00.01am approximately, on Thursday 18 October, at: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/publications1/

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