DEFRA invite comments on proposals to tighten Enforcement on Control in Endangered Species to protect species and discourage the cruel illegal trade and smuggling of in live animals and dead animal parts.
Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 2005
Comments on proposals which will be taken forward:
(a) A police officer should be able to search the premises (dwelling/vehicle /or land ) of a suspect (b) to search or examine any suspicious dead animal parts or live animal or animals within the premises and (c) be able to seize and detain specimens from the premises which may be used as evidence of the commission of the offence (regulation 11), (and Section 19 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981), particularly enforcement of section 19ZA and 19ZB which empowers a police officer or wildlife inspector to enter and inspect a suspects premises and obtain specimens in order to determine offences under ss6, 7, 13 and 14.
Agree with reference to regulation 13 (1) and (2) and (7).
Defra wildlife inspectors should be given the same powers of entry as police officers to search the premises of suspecting offenders. Powers of entry to premises should be updated and brought in line with the WCA 1981 regulations 12 (1) and (2), (as amended by the Countryside and Rights of Way, CROW Act 2000, and the Nature Conservation, Scotland, Act 2004). It should also be considered that police and Defra wildlife inspectors are on a compulsory basis, allowed to exercise powers to stop and search passenger luggage at airports, railway stations and ports of entry to Britain; especially at points of arrival from destinations within areas where bushmeat is regularly smuggled in passenger luggage and hand luggage, the use of specially trained dogs should also be used to assist in these inspections, trials using specially trained sniffer dogs have been successful and should be made compulsory.
Agree (with reference to regulation 12 (5)). Inspectors should be empowered further by being provided with expert specialist assistance during investigations to carry out the full range of CITES inspections under regulations 12 and 13 by authorisation of the Secretary of State.
Agree that samples may be taken for establishing the identity, ancestry, or origin of a specimen or live animal, (regulations, 13 (1), (2), (3) and (4). This is particularly important for example when obtaining samples for DNA analysis when it is disputed the animal has been bred in captivity (s19ZB).
Agree, it is suggested that the offence should attract fines higher than that of the present level 5.
Agree. This should be made an offence and subject to a fine at level 5.
Agree. Certification should only be granted for a ‘travelling exhibition’ of live or dead endangered animals or plants, only if for educational purposes rather than entertainment. Circuses can be classed as travelling exhibitions and are unfortunately directed at public entertainment, rather than education. Certificates issued for ‘personal ownership’ should be made applicable to people who ‘own’ animals used in circuses, and DNA analysis should be permitted on any animal that has not been proved by legal documentation to have been bred in captivity. Strict licensing and certification should also be made applicable to people who claim to be breeders, exotic bird traders and those who sell exotic pets such as amphibians, reptiles or aquaria species and or have private animal or plant collections, these trades should be regularly monitored and inspected. Custodial sentences of two years and level 5 fines should be enforced if offences occur and legal documentation is not provided. Zoos should be considered where “personal ownership” is regarded. “ Personal custody” could be possibly be claimed by some people, instead of “personal ownership” this requires careful consideration and should include establishments such as veterinary clinics and wildlife hospitals .
Agree. Most serious offences such as sale offences in regulations 8 (1) and (2) should attract a prison sentence of a minimum of six months and level 5 fines. It is suggested that illegal smuggling of live or dead specimens listed in Annex A of the principal regulations, should be punishable with a sentence of no less than two years and level 5 fines, section 6 (b). Animal material including tissues, and bodily fluid such as bile and sperm should be included in the imported materials.
Agree. Police and inspectors should be permitted to search a premises without application for a search warrant (as set out in regulations 9 (2) for the 1997 COTES Regulations, (reg 10 (1)).
Proposals not taken forward
Agree. Regarding those persons convicted for possession of and of trading in species listed in Annex A, consider a minimum of two year and up to a five year sentence and level 5 fine.