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National Wildlife Crime Unit under threat for the price of 83 duck houses

11/01/2013 10:58:06

Tiger skin coat seized in London by the National Wildlife Crime Unit

114 MPs sign early day motion to preserve National Wildlife Crime Unit

January 2013. Just weeks after a report revealed that the international trade in illegal wildlife products has reached $19 million per year, and that the trade strengthens criminal networks, undermines national security, and poses increasing risks to global health, besides driving many endangered species towards extinction, the British Government is refusing to commit to providing funding for the National Wildlife Crime Unit.

Paltry amount required
The unit employs just 10 people and receives a tiny £136,000 annually from the Home Office and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), but the funding has not yet been agreed. The current funding expires on 31st March and without the funding from DEFRA the unit will almost certainly close.

The National Wildlife Crime Unit was launched in 2006; the NWCU is a multi-agency police-led unit, set up to target and disrupt serious wildlife crime on a regional, national and international level.

Lack of support from Conservatives
Of 114 MPs that signed the early day motion, just 4 were from the Conservative Party, the party whose policy states "The Government believes that we need to protect the environment for future generations, make our economy more environmentally sustainable, and improve our quality of life and well-being. We also believe that much more needs to be done to support the farming industry, protect biodiversity and encourage sustainable food production."
Click here to see which MPs have supported the motion.

With the current levels of wildlife crime reported from around the world, and with the UK paying an increasing part as a destination for illegal wildlife products, not to mention domestic wildlife crime, and for the sake of 83 duck houses so beloved by Tory MPs, what possible reason is there for not funding this unit?

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