International wildlife trade is largely unregulated

17 Oct 2020

Whitehead, M.

Vet Record Image

Josh Loeb (VR, 3/10 October 2020, vol 187, pp 247, 248) discusses a recent analysis1 of commercial imports of live, non-domesticated animals into the UK between 2014 and 2018, as recorded in the APHA Trade Control and Expert System database. The analysis excluded domesticated species, gamebirds, fish and species protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

As noted in the analysis,1 wildlife trade records can be error-prone, incomplete and characterised by a degree of uncertainty, so recorded numbers will not perfectly reflect actual imports – did the UK really import over two million live frogs from the USA in five years? Nevertheless, it is clear that very large numbers of wild animals – whether wild-caught, ‘ranched’ or captive-bred – are imported into the UK for commercial purposes from all over the world.

These numbers do not include imports of CITES species,...