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Biodiversity and the subjugation of environmental priorities to commercial interests

Today Catherine Bearder MEP questioned the European Commission on biodiversity.

Please see the full text of her question below:

'Europeans everywhere will thank the Commission for the strong stance it has promised to take to block the Tanzanian and Zambian Governments' efforts to re-open the ivory trade at the upcoming CITES Convention in Doha in March 2010.'

'Yet the re-emergence of this threat to the African elephant only serves to highlight the danger of the commodification of some of the earth's most rare and endangered species. The threat to this particular animal is symptomatic of the approach of putting economic demands ahead of the need to protect our ecosystem and the host of animal species it is home to.'

'A second example of this can be seen in the form of the recently leaked document from the European Commission revealing its intention to reclassify palm plantations as 'forests' in order to permit the use of palm oil as a biofuel.'

'A palm oil plantation is a monoculture, it is not a forest. The reclassification of palm oil plantations by the EC gives carte blanche to the palm oil, logging and paper industries to deforest, to destroy, and to kill. Across the world organisations are fighting for the survival of species being pushed to the brink of extinction because of the aggressive proliferation of such industries. These include the orangutan, the Sumatran tiger, gibbon, rhinoceros, elephant and many more.'

'In this, the UN Year of Biodiversity what additional steps does the Commission intend to take to safeguard the many vulnerable species open to exploitation for commercial gain?'


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