Commercial sales of protected plants

Diane Whitehead
Fri, 21 Dec 2007 19:53:24 PST
On 21-Dec-07, at 6:09 PM, Tim Harvey wrote:

Don't go giving the US any ideas ...

T> If animals and plants subject to CITES are smuggled in to Canada,  
they > are seized and given to a suitable zoo or botanic garden.>

All I meant to say was that protected species discovered by Customs  
agents are not destroyed, but given to a zoo or botanic garden.

 > How on earth is that regulated?

There is a thick book of regulations that inspectors check before  
issuing phytosanitary certificates.  They must consult international  
regulations as well as the regulations of the country to which the  
plant is going.

This is not done on the basis of "type of plant" or even genus.  For  
instance, not all cacti are protected, and the level of protection  
varies even for the ones that are protected.  Included in my last  
importation of plants from the U.S. was a Euphorbia.  This is a huge  
family, spread across the whole world, I think, and includes a few  
species on one of the CITES schedules, a lot of perfectly OK but  
unprotected species commonly grown in gardens, and some weeds that I  
am constantly battling.  I could see the eyes of the U.S. inspector  
light up when he saw "Euphorbia" on my list.  He would not accept my  
word that this was a commonly-grown species, but had to search his  
book of regs himself before writing out a certificate.

CITES protection is to regulate trade in endangered plants and  
animals.  There is no "search and destroy" mission for plants growing  
within countries.  Instead, cute well-trained beagles patrol U.S.  
airports, sniffing at passengers and their luggage.  Some can smell  
drugs, some money, some ham sandwiches, and some plants.

Diane Whitehead

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