The European Parliament today voted in favour of a resolution calling for more action on the worldwide illegal wildlife trade.
David Martin, Scotland's senior Labour MEP, said "illegal wildlife trade is now the fourth largest illegal activity in the world and has an annual turnover of at least $19 billion. That the EU is still a significant market for this industry and as well as a transit route is shameful and must be stopped."
"As Vice-President of the European Parliament's Animal Welfare intergroup, I am aware that wildlife crime is not just a problem in countries far away, even here in the EU and Scotland there remains a problem with the poaching, killing and capturing of rare species. We must not let the current crisis distract from our protection of the world's rarest animals.'
This resolution supported by Labour MEPs also focused on the environmental and social impact of wildlife trade in countries outside of the EU.
"Illegal wildlife trafficking is now intrinsically connected to organised criminal networks. It undermines development in vulnerable regions and can constitute a major threat to security, the rule of law and democracy" said Mr Martin. He added "This trade, including large mammals such as elephants and rhinos, impacts on the wider area and can deplete entire wildlife ecosystems."
The report calls for greater action and coordination between EU Member States and third countries.