EU: Pioneering conference on animal welfare in Invasive Alien Species management.

Pioneering conference on animal welfare in Invasive Alien Species management

22 July 2022

We are closing the bridge between animal welfare and conservation. The “Conference on the management of vertebrate Invasive Alien Species (IAS) of Union concern – incorporating animal welfare” was held on 12 July 2022 in Brussels and gathered 150 experts in wildlife management from across Europe to discuss how to improve animal welfare in IAS management.

The Conference is the final milestone of a project assessing the animal welfare implications of management methods for IAS on the Union list. The manual detailing the assessment will be published by the end of the year. Based on these outcomes, wildlife management practitioners will be able to select the most humane methods, while also taking into consideration the cost-benefit analysis to maximise efficiency. This Pilot Project is funded by the European Commission and implemented by a consortium of academics, conservation and animal welfare organisations, including Eurogroup for Animals. 

The participants to the Conference represented a wide range of wildlife management stakeholders including field practitioners, academia, civil society and competent authorities. They could discover the content of the manual presented by the consortium, learn from case studies across Europe on the management of various species and exchange on the gaps, best practices and ways forward for the management of mammals, birds, reptiles and fish species of the Union list.

During the Conference, Eurogroup for Animals and its members highlighted the necessity to raise awareness and find solutions to

  1. Better prevent the introduction of IAS in Europe,
  2. Develop innovative methods that minimise animal suffering when management is needed to protect biodiversity.

In this context, it is essential to explore the possibilities of fertility control and similar non-lethal management methods for the species of the Union list. Such solutions could enable a better implementation of the IAS regulation. The latter indeed provides the use of methods that do not cause avoidable pain, distress or suffering.

Based on the research conducted and the outcomes of this productive Conference, Eurogroup for Animals calls on the EU to build on this momentum, conducting further research needed to develop humane management methods for the IAS of the Union list. Additionally, following this important project, Eurogroup for Animals calls for the inclusion of welfare in management to be legally binding, as well as the publication of a list of prohibited management methods which fail to meet high welfare standards.

Regards Mark

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