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Last update: July 01, 1998

Possible Changes to Australian Export Laws.

This page maintained by John Fowler

From the Sunday Mail (Adelaide, Australia) 31st May 1998

Fauna export bans to lift

Canberra: The export of Australian Wildlife is expected to be made legal.

A senate committee is set to next month recommend lifting a 30 year old ban on wildlife exports following the failure of anti-smuggling laws to stop the lucrative trade.

In the export firing line are kangaroos, dingoes, possums, snakes and lizards, and sulphur crested cockatoos.

Experts predict a legalised wildlife trade could be worth millions of dollars to Australia.

But angry conservation groups warn Australian natives are unsuitable as pets and could die overseas.

"Many of these animals need specialist care and they would be away from their natural environment," an animal Liberation spokesman said.

Animal welfare groups say Australia must continue to fight the illegal trade, estimated to be worth $400 million a year.

The Woodley committee into commercialization of Australian native wildlife will present its findings on June 23.

However, committee sources said it would bring down a near unanimous recommendation to change Federal wildlife protection Laws.

This would pave the way for farmers and commercial operators to breed and sell wildlife overseas.

The Sun Herald 7/6/98
Sydney Australia

Reporter Fia Cummins

A major senate inquiry into commercial use of Australian wildlife is likely
to recommend that export controls on native birds and fauna be loosened.

The inquiry, due to report later this month, is sure to ignite debate about
the best way to control fauna smuggling, as well as the use of kangaroos,
oppossums and emus for meat.

It is likely to recommend that export bans be lifted for the first time,
but only for birds and animals which are bred in captivity.

Evidence put to the inquiry suggested that captive breeding and overseas
breeding could assist conservation by reducing the market for smuggled
birds, reptiles and, less often animals.

Committee chairman John Woodley siad the report had not been completed but
would be monumental and controversial.

Senator Woodley said the committee was still considering all the evidence
but the export question was one of the issues that would be addressed.

Export of captive bred animals was being considered.

"In terms of evidence we heard, thats the way the argument is going, but at
this stage I need to review the evidence" he said.

Reptile expert and author of two books on wildlife smuggling, Raymond
Hoser, said he would be delighted if the committee recommended that exports
be allowed.

Mr Hoser said the best system would be to apply a hefty tax on each animal
sent out of Australia to ensure that the trade was kept at a low level.

Overseas owners would then look after their exotic Australian animals and
attempt to breed them, he said.

"The only way to stop the corruption and cruelty is legalising exports" he


The Senate Report has now been released

COMMERCIAL UTILISATION OF AUSTRALIAN NATIVE WILDLIFE - this is the whole report, so you may wish to read the folowing chapters first.



Frequently asked questions.

Q. Does this mean that large numbers of wild animals will be imported from Australia, lowering the price drastically.

A. Almost all species are totally protected in all states by state law and strict regulations are enforced, so at present no animals will be able to be captured for sale overseas. Prices of most available species (with some exceptions) are comparable to US prices. There has been a push by the farming community to allow the sustainable use of wild reptiles and birds, and this may have prompted the move to allow export. Should sustainable use be permitted, a trial is likely to be run on a few common species.

Q. What species will be allowed to be exported from Australia .

A. This is not known at this stage, however my guess is that it is likely that some species will not be allowed to be exported.

Q. What species are being kept in Australia.

A. There is a very large number of species, however most are in numbers too small to satisfy even the Australian market, The most commonly available species are Carpet Pythons (various varieties), Childrens (including Stimsons and Spotted), Inland Bearded Dragons ( P. vitticeps), Common Bluetongues, Eastern Water Dragons, Cunningham skinks.

Q. How long till the laws get changed.

A. At this stage the Senate Inquiry into Trade and Export of Native Fauna has just been released, I could only guess at the time frame, which could be months or years.



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