Europe as a hub for tiger trade
Breeding and trading in tigers is permitted throughout the EU. Due to a lack of documentation, it is impossible to determine how many of these tigers are in captivity in Europe. The official export and import figures for the last few years alone serve as a guide. Between 1999 and 2016, 862 live tigers were legally imported into the EU and 1,412 exported. On the other hand, between 1999 and 2017, 8,278 illegal tiger products, such as tiger soup cubes, teeth and claws, and 57 illegal live tigers were seized in the EU. According to research, illegal activities took place primarily in Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Slovakia, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Great Britain and the Czech Republic.
Tigers are dying suspiciously early in Europe
While tigers live up to 20 years in the wild, research by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) paints a different picture. In 2015, Czech authorities began scrutinizing private breeders and found that tigers there lived an average of just four to five years.
Kieran Harkin from : “At this young age, tigers are usually considered healthy and agile. The conspicuously early death of privately owned tigers is either related to extremely poor husbandry conditions or the animals are deliberately killed early – presumably to capitalize on their body parts.” The handling of animal carcasses is not properly regulated in EU countries. The cause of death is almost never checked. In the best case, the type and weight of the carcass is documented.
Clear rejection of EU citizens
By legally trading captive bred tigers, the European Commission is not only disregarding the needs of animals, but also the will of EU citizens. According to a survey initiated by in August 2018 with 7,223 participants from Austria, Germany, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, France, Spain and the Netherlands, 91 percent of those questioned are in favor of a ban on tiger trade for commercial purposes. Only four percent are in favor of the retail trade remaining in existence. The rest abstained.
We will be happy to send you the complete survey results on request.
Problem child Czech Republic as a role model
Although the Czech Republic has historically been considered a hot spot for tiger trade, the July 2018 revelations have led to serious changes. The Czech Environment Ministry enacted the immediate suspension of commercial tiger exports. In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture announced that it would control big cat breeders more strictly in the future and would ban inappropriate interactions with the animals. “The change of heart in the Czech Republic should be an example for all other EU countries. Tigers are not a party prop, a selfie motif, a cuddly toy, a home accessory or a medicinal miracle cure. Tigers are endangered wild animals that need our protection. We therefore call on the European Commission to ban the commercial trade in tigers once and for all,” said Harkin.