A captive bat eating fruit, at a market in Jakarta, Indonesia

One Major party missing in action on wildlife trade ban issue


The Eden-Monaro by-election on July 4 is looming closer and, so far, four of the six parties have issued a statement outlining their position on a global wildlife trade ban.

Header image: Aaron Gekoski

World Animal Protection is calling for a global ban on the trade in wildlife at the upcoming G20 Summit in November, and we believe Australia should be leading the effort to secure a ban.

As well as causing immense animal suffering, the trade in wild animals and wild animal products causes diseases like coronavirus (COVID-19) and presents a severe risk to global health.

The Eden-Monaro region has been hit hard by COVID-19 and the restrictions that have followed. Small businesses, families, and towns that rely on tourism are struggling to stay afloat.

It is especially disappointing that the Liberal Party and the Shooters, Fishers & Farmers party have so far failed to state their position on a global wildlife ban. That’s why, together, we must keep up the pressure on all politicians to take a strong stance on an issue that impacts us all.

Here are the statements from the four Eden-Monaro candidates who have responded.

Labor Candidate Kristy McBain stated:

“I am strongly opposed to the illegal trafficking of wildlife. It has the potential to seriously harm our threatened species and so I support the strong enforcement of Australia’s trafficking laws. I also want to see Australia working actively in international forums to ensure that all countries take this issue seriously and work to prevent the illegal wildlife trade.”

Greens Candidate Cathy Griff has stated:

“I can state emphatically that the Australian Greens oppose wildlife trade and would support a global ban. [T]he trade in wildlife such as monkeys, reptiles, bats, and various other creatures has in the past, and may in future, lead to further pandemics for which, as is the case with COVID-19 we have no existing vaccine.”

Science Party Candidate James Jansson has stated:

“The Science Party does not have a position on wildlife trade. I am not absolutely opposed to the trade of animals from the wild per se, although I do believe it should be done in a sustainable way and in a way that minimises suffering where possible. That said, you should note that the Science Party has a strong animal welfare policy, including tough restrictions on live exports.”

Sustainable Australia Party Candidate Joy Angel has stated:

“Sustainable Australia Party believes strongly in animal welfare and does not support the “free trade at any price” view which is dominant in the major parties. We share your concern about both the animal welfare consequences and the spread of zoonotic diseases caused by the present lack of regulation. I, Joy Angel, would vote, if elected, in favour of a ban on the international trade in wild animals and wild animal products.”

We commissioned polling which shows 87% of Eden Monaro voters want a permanent, global ban on the wildlife trade and 68% want to know the candidate’s position on this, establishing this topic as one the candidates can no longer remain silent on.

Given the importance of this issue to residents, it’s disappointing that we are yet to receive a response from the Liberal Candidate Fiona Kotvojs, or from the Shooters, Fishers & Farmers candidate Matthew Stadtmiller. We need to keep the pressure on to ensure that all candidates make their position on this important issue known.

Please take a moment to those local candidates who are yet to respond – and tell them this issue matters to you. Email addresses for candidates, as well as email writing tips can be found here.

If you’re looking for even more ways to help, you could consider calling the candidate directly to follow up on your enquiry. You could also write a letter to the editor of your local paper, explaining why you’re concerned about the global wildlife trade and asking for all candidates to take a strong position and support a ban.

Finally, if you want more ways to be involved, or if you have other ideas on how we can help raise the profile of the global wildlife trade in Eden-Monaro, please email our team at protect@worldanimalprotection.org.au

Together, we must keep up the pressure on all politicians to take a strong stance on an issue that impacts us all.

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