Speciesism and the Wildlife Trade: Who gets Listed, Downlisted and Uplisted in CITES?
Wildlife faces a number of threats due to human activity, including overexploitation from excessive and/or illegal trade. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is the main international legal instrument to address such overexploitation. However, not all species threatened by excessive trade are protected by CITES, leading to criticism that it is an instrument for the preservation of exploitation as opposed to the protection of wildlife (Goyes and Sollund 2016). This article explores whether CITES classifications can be said to perpetuate speciesist thinking. We highlight which species are more likely to receive protection by analysing which species are listed and how some species move between the CITES Appendices and comparing this to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) classifications for traded wildlife. We find that a species’ market value, charisma, and survival status form a complex set of characteristics that lead (or not) to the continual trade of some species, even though they are facing extinction from human consumption.
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