PS wins DEFRA clarity over African grey licences

African-greyTHE PARROT SOCIETY (PS) has met with DEFRA/ CITES Wildlife Registration officials to clarify the regulations relating to documentation for African greys, following the species’ uplisting to Appendix 1/ Annex A of CITES.

As of February 4, all African greys entered into trade within the EU, or imported/ (re)exported out of the EU require Article 10 licences from CITES, and must have either a closed ID ring or a microchip. Commercial or hobbyists breeders who breed African greys to sell the chicks must comply with CITES, the PS stresses.

Pet birdkeepers do not need a licence as long as they do not sell the bird or chicks. However, the PS urges carers of such birds to consider applying for an Article 10 in the longer term, to allow for the possible sale of the bird(s) in the future, e.g. following the death of the owner.

On June 15, PS chairman Alan Jones and secretary Les Rance met DEFRA/ CITES representatives to discuss PS members’ complaints regarding the length of time it has taken to apply for the Article 10 licence, and that some members had no paperwork to back up their acquisition of the birds.

Mr Jones explained: “It was pointed out that since African greys were previously listed on CITES Annex B, it was already a legal requirement to have paperwork such as proof of purchase or ownership, ring or microchip numbers, so it should be a straightforward move to use these records to acquire certification following the upgrade.

“However, in practice things are not that simple. Many of our members’ birds have been in their possession for decades, with any such paperwork having been lost, or never existing.”

Mr Jones continued: “DEFRA’s response was that 15 working days were required, and that in the short term it will be very flexible as regards to documentary evidence.”

Where no documentary evidence is available, in exceptional circumstances, DEFRA will be prepared to allow supportive evidence such as a letter from a vet or neighbour (not a relative) to identify birds and the period of ownership.

But this leniency in documentary supportive evidence is a short-term arrangement. According to the PS, it is likely to be withdrawn in the next few months, once parrot owners have had time to get their birds identified by microchip (if not already closed-ringed), and to locate or get copies of original purchase receipts.

Application and communication by email is preferable: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

● Any new regulations, as well as further information, will be published on: www.theparrotsocietyuk.org, www.cites.org and www.gov.uk