According to conservationists as well as scientists, the excessive and exploitative consumption of frog legs in France and Belgium is taking a toll. Belgium is regarded as the highest importing European country with 70% of the imports which is driving multiple amphibian species in Turkey, Albania, and Indonesia near extinction.
Europe imports millions of mostly wild frogs each year contributing to the severe decline of foreign species, and according to scientific calculations, the Albanian water frog is currently threatened and the Anatolian water frog from turkey could go extinct as early as 2032. Conservationists also have their suspicions that the fall in exports in Indonesia is a sign of the depletion of the Javan Species.
According to Dr Sandra Altherr, the co-founder of Pro Wildlife and co-author of the report, if the uncontrolled export into Europe continues, we may see a more critical decline in the wild frog species population as well as extinction within the next decade. Charlotte Nithart, who also co-wrote the report and is the president of the French NGO Robin des Bois, went on to say: “Frogs play a central role in the ecosystem as insect killers – and where frogs disappear, the use of toxic pesticides is increasing. Hence, the frogs’ legs trade has direct consequences not only for the frogs themselves but for biodiversity and ecosystem health.”
According to reports from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Europe has a high import of the at-risk species from foreign countries, contributing to their rapid decline but the European Union’s (EU) Habitat Directive prevents neighbouring countries from hunting wild native frogs. The IUCN has also said that the unbridled demand from wealthier countries is causing a great strain on the amphibian population in poorer ones. As a result of the unconstrained and extremely exploitative practices of several European countries, the IUCN has classified various species of frogs as vulnerable and near threatened in Asia, and the African bullfrog is thought to possibly be extinct.
Pro wildlife and Robin de Bois have called for restrictions on imports into the EU countries, as well as a listing of endangered species in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), better traceability of products, as well as information for consumers. Altherr has also expressed her wishes for the cutting of the legs of the frogs with axes and scissors without anaesthetic, which she believes is cruel, to come to an end.
Following the release of the Wildlife report, EU insiders expressed their regrets that it was published after the submission deadline for listing proposals for the next (Cites) conference of the parties, which will take place later this year. In a statement, a European Commission official went on to say that the EU will consider listing proposals coming from (Cites) range states that demonstrate evidence of the risk of trade threatening the survival of the species.