|As no relevant international standard had been established on that date, an agreement was concluded between Canada, the Russian Federation and the European Community with a view to permitting trade in and importation of furs obtained using trapping standards protecting the welfare of the animals. The main purpose of this agreement is to lay down harmonized technical standards offering a sufficient level of protection to the welfare of trapped animals and governing both the production and use of traps, and to facilitate trade in traps, pelts and products manufactured from species covered by the agreement.
In accordance with the undertakings given the parties must ensure that their competent authorities take all the necessary steps to certify traps placed on the market on their territory as being in accordance with the standards and to prohibit the use of traps that are not certified in accordance with the standards. Each party has to establish appropriate processes for certifying traps in accordance with the standards, prohibit the use of traps that are not certified in accordance with the standards, require manufacturers to attach a mark to identify certified traps and ensure compliance with these trapping standards.
Derogations are provided, however, in relation to the interests of public health, protection of public and private property and respect for the cultural heritage of indigenous communities. The traps for which a derogation is granted must however conform to designs approved by the relevant competent authority and be notified to the joint management committee for the agreement.
In the event of a dispute between the parties an arbitration body may be set up with a view to achieving a mutually satisfactory resolution.
The annex sets out the actual international humane trapping standards, including:
- the thresholds and indicators allowing the degree of welfare of the animals to be trapped or killed to be measured,
- the list of species covered by the agreement,
- the implementation schedule for ensuring that traps are in conformity with the standards and/or their replacement with traps that are authorized:
*three to five years after the entry into force of the agreement for restraining
*five years after the entry into force of the agreement for killing traps.
Traps which are not certified in accordance with the standards within three years after the end of the periods laid down in the preceding points will normally be prohibited (except for derogations granted provisionally by the competent authorities).
The Agreement is not yet in force for all three parties, but it has been applied bilaterally between the EC and Canada since 01/06/1999.
Dates of signature: EC and Canada: 15/12/1997 and Russian Federation: 22/04/1998.
An international Agreement in the form of an Agreed Minute has been also concluded on humane trapping standards between the European Community and the United States of America (OJ L219 of 07/08/1998, p.26).|