Reframing the Exotic Pet Trade in Europe: Developing Effective-Science-based Demand Reduction Interventions - VetEffecT

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Reframing the Exotic Pet Trade in Europe: Developing Effective-Science-based Demand Reduction Interventions
VetEffecT has been awarded the project"Reframing the exotic pet trade in Europe: developing effective science-based demand reduction interventions," a collaborative effort led by VetEffecT in partnership with Europgroup for Animals, TU Delft, Pro Wildlife, Sapience, and Monitor Conservation Research Society. This project has been awarded by the Directorate-General for the Environment of the European Commission, with the overarching goal of providing tools and best practices to reduce demand for illegally sourced exotic pets.

The project's objectives are interconnected, comprising three key components. First, the initiative aims to conduct extensive research in EU Member States, focusing on profiling exotic pet holders and understanding their values and motivations. This approach involves analyzing existing demand reduction interventions and their outcomes, providing a better understanding of the current landscape. Second, the project seeks to identify best practices by evaluating previously implemented demand reduction interventions, recognizing successful strategies, and extracting valuable insights. The outcome of this phase is the formulation of recommendations rooted in the analysis of successful interventions. Third, the project demonstrates a forward-looking perspective by designing and testing demand reduction interventions in at least four targeted Member States. This involves the development and implementation of new strategies using scientific methods, behavioral science, and established frameworks like CITES guidance. The ultimate goal is to gather data on the results of these interventions and evaluate their effectiveness to reach evidence-based decision-making. Throughout the entire project, maintaining close collaboration with stakeholders, particularly EU Member States authorities, is crucial. Regular communication and feedback loops are most important to ensure the project remains aligned with the evolving needs and challenges associated with the exotic pet trade in Europe. This comprehensive and iterative approach underscores the commitment to actively contributing to the reduction of demand for illegally sourced exotic pets.

The 2-year project holds promise as it aims to develop nterventions to reduce consumer demand for keeping exotic pets. Our collective efforts aim to bring about positive change in the international pet trade that needs transofrmation to sustainable practices and ethical conisderations.

Our responsibilities in this project include:

Project Overview:
  1. Evidence and Literature Review:
    • Conduct a thorough review of existing information on exotic pet trade statistics in the EU (CITES and non-CITES listed).
    • Analyze exotic pet holders' consumer profiles, behavior, values, and motivations.
    • Evaluate past demand reduction strategies and interventions, including regulatory frameworks and law enforcement efforts.
    • Engage in stakeholder consultations.
  2. Data Collection and Gap Identification:
    • Identify data gaps based on the evidence and literature review.
    • Collect additional data on trade in exotic pets, consumer profiles, and influencers in the four target Member States.
    • Explore relevant drivers and deterrents influencing exotic pet demand.
  3. Formulate Recommendations:
    • Based on research and stakeholder inputs, provide recommendations to change consumer behavior, with a focus on reptile and amphibian holders.
    • Offer concrete examples of best practices, considering effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability, transferability, and scalability.
    • Include measures for Member States, local authorities, businesses, and individuals.
  4. Design Pilot Interventions:
    • Develop pilot communication and social mobilization interventions in at least four Member States.
    • Align interventions with scientific communication and behavioral science methods, CITES guidance, and other relevant frameworks.
    • Clearly outline target consumer groups, desired behavior changes, messages, channels, and evaluation methods.
  5. Implement Demand Reduction Interventions:
    • Execute interventions in selected Member States.
    • Gather data on results and evaluate effectiveness.
    • Present results and follow-up in English.
  6. Hybrid Workshop:
    • Organize a hybrid workshop with a minimum of 150 participants, including physical and virtual attendees.
    • Present draft findings, fostering discussions among stakeholders, NGOs, academia, private sector, and EU Member States authorities.
  7. Compile Project Results:
    • Formulate comprehensive recommendations in the final report.
    • Address the demand for illegally acquired exotic pets in the EU, with a specific focus on reptile and amphibian holders.

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