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For Immediate Release: 09/26/05

International Coalition of Animal Welfare Groups Challenges IUCN’s President to Reverse Inhumane Trapping Resolution

Basel — As the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) World Conservation Union Council meets today at its head office in Gland, Switzerland, a global alliance of animal protection organizations is urging IUCN President, Mr. Valli Moosa, to reverse an IUCN resolution that supports unnecessary animal cruelty.

At their November 2004 meeting in Bangkok, a marginal number of IUCN members passed a resolution (3.089) sponsored primarily by the international fur industry, which encourages governments to apply new “trap standards.” Animal protection groups argue that instead of advancing animal welfare, the standards proposed by the international fur industry would simply further entrench cruel trapping practices.

In a letter sent to Mr. Valli Moosa, the international Fur Free Alliance (FFA), comprised of 27 animal protection organizations representing tens of millions of members globally, urged the IUCN President to reverse the inconsistent and inhumane resolution.

Newly elected IUCN President Mr. Valli Moosa stated in a November 2004 news release that “we need to engage, involve and reach out to more people: young, old, rich, poor, urban, rural, scientific and layperson. It is from diversity that we gain our strength and political niche, and our unique moral authority.”

“Rather than talk about moral authority, as the President of the IUCN, Mr. Valli Moosa needs to act to ensure that IUCN policies are morally correct,” states Dr. John Grandy, senior vice-president for wildlife of the Humane Society of the United States and Secretariat of the FFA. “IUCN perceived support for an industry sponsored resolution that legitimizes cruel trapping methods is clearly inconsistent with this goal.”

“The resolution passed at the IUCN meeting undermines the very intent of the original EU Trapping Regulation, which was to improve the welfare of animals and encourage countries to prohibit use of leghold traps,” says Camilla Fox, Director of Wildlife Programs for the Animal Protection Institute and Chair of the FFA Trapping Committee. “The passage of this resolution has only helped to further entrench the use of cruel traps, while sanctioning industry standards that have no international legitimacy.”

“Rather than prohibiting the importation of cruelly caught fur skins, the new ‘trap standards’ now institutionalize weaker trap standards than were accepted prior to the introduction of the well-intended, but WTO diluted, EU Regulation to ban the importation of leghold-trapped fur,” states Mark Rissi, Communications Officer, Swiss Animal Protection. “This is a giant step backwards for animals.”

Mark Glover, Chair of the FFA and Director of Respect for Animals states, “Animal welfare issues such as trapping standards fall well outside of the mandate and expertise of the IUCN. Moreover, the resolution in question supports trapping standards that are in contravention of the Bern Convention. If Mr. Valli Moosa and his organization are to have any credibility with the public he must fight to ensure the IUCN isn’t used to endorse industry sponsored measures that promote cruelty to animals.”

Editor’s notes:

Trapping. Following legal threats from fur exporting countries, a European Union Regulation passed in 1991 (3254/91), that would have prohibited the import of furs into Europe from countries that still use leghold traps, was seriously compromised with the insertion of a caveat allowing countries to continue exporting leghold-trapped fur into Europe if they met “internationally agreed humane trapping standards.” However, to date no such internationally recognized humane trapping standards exist and the U.S., Canada, and Russia — the largest fur-trapping countries in the world — continue to use leghold traps and export wild-caught furs to Europe.

For more information about opposition to International Trap Standards please see:
www.api4animals.org/886.htm
www.banlegholdtraps.com/agreement.html

About the Fur Free Alliance
The Fur Free Alliance (FFA) is an international consortium of 27 animal protection groups, representing tens of millions of caring members, whose member organizations work peacefully to bring an end to the unnecessary cruelty of the fur trade. For further information please go to www.inFURmation.com.

About the World Conservation Union (IUCN) see www.iucn.org/.

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Contact Information:
Camilla Fox, Director of Wildlife Programs, Animal Protection Institute and Chair of the FFA Trapping Committee, 916-524-5291 (cell), 415-945-9309 (office)
Mark Rissi, Communications Officer, Swiss Animal Protection SAP, +41-79-2097252
Dr. John Grandy, Senior Vice-President for Wildlife of the Humane Society of the United States and Secretariat of the FFA, 202-251-2163 (cell)
Mark Glover, Director of Respect for Animals and Chair of the FFA, 44-7850768337 (cell)

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