Companion Animal Lists - Proposals for Legislation in EU Countries

Dear Delegate,

I would like to bring to your attention an issue of particular significance with respect to Falconry in Europe.  This relates to lists which are being developed to restrict the keeping of wild and exotic animals as so called “companion animals”.  You will see that regulations already exist relating to mammals in Belgium and the Netherlands.  In time, these lists will be developed for Birds as well.  We must ensure that all of the species of interest to Falconers are included on these lists.  We must also consider this in European Union countries where hunting Falconry is not permitted at this time, as these lists will be used to restrict the keeping of hawks and this may prevent the possibility of changing the law to support falconry in the future.

Please see the link below:
Source: Federation of Veterinarians of Europe. Subject: Keeping wild animals and other exotic animals as companion animals. Date published: November 22 2013

Please click here to access the FVE position paper on the Regulation of keeping animals as companion animals through the establishment of lists.

I would recommend that you take the following steps as a matter of urgency:

• Draw up a list of all those species which you consider of interest to falconry.  You may consider species which are not available to you at this time, such as Black Sparrowhawks or Aplomado falcons.

• Contact your national administrators who deal with issues concerning animal welfare as well as those concerned with conservation and environmental affairs, to establish what action is being taken in your country, with respect to these lists.

• Contact your national parliamentarians as well as national MEPs to make them aware of this issue and your concerns in this respect.  Consider arranging a meeting with the relevant Minister or Director to address your concerns.

• You should make these people aware of the significance of Falconry nationally and internationally.  The UNESCO recognition of Falconry as a World Intangible Cultural Heritage is certainly of relevance to this.

• Please approach the IAF for support, when and if this is required.  Please inform us of specific issues which may arise in your nation.

It is particularly important that we are prepared to act and to act early on this issue.  Our Vice President for Europe, Prof. Tom Richter, has noted:  

“Positive lists are a big challenge; they can save us from trouble if birds of prey are included and they can kill falconry if they are out.   So everybody, especially every club, has to lobby.  Politics is not based on evidence or science but on emotions.”

This information and the action required is important so please share this with other falconers and falconry organizations within your nation who may not be members of the IAF.

Adrian Lombard.
President of the International Association for Falconry and the Conservation of Birds of Prey.  24th November, 2013