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C 310/10 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10.

98

With regard to the proposed construction of an electricity interconnector between Scotland and Northern Ireland,
the safety of the undersea route has been a priority from the outset, as it has long been known that Beaufort’s
Dyke has been used for many years as a dumping ground for surplus munitions. Northern Ireland electricity
(NIE) has carried out three separate detailed surveys of the seabed along the route corridors being considered,
using state of the art survey equipment. The detailed cable routes have been selected within the surveyed
corridors so as to avoid all obstacles. Further surveys along these selected routes will be carried out both before
and after laying the cables as a matter of normal installation practice. When the cables are being installed, the
precision methods which will be used will ensure that nothing on the seabed is disturbed. These installation
methods are vastly less disruptive of the seabed than those used to lay a pipeline. NIE is working closely with the
health and safety authorities, and issued an addendum to its environmental statement in December 1997, as a
response to the NRPB memorandum referred to above. This addendum is currently in public consultation in
Northern Ireland. However, since the only area of concern raised by the NRPB was near the Isle of Arran,
nowhere near the site of the interconnector, no new risk arises. The Commission is satisfied that the health and
safety issues surrounding the interconnector have been adequately addressed and that the laying of the cables
will not pose any risk to public health and safety.

(1) OJ C 60, 25.2.1998, p. 136.

(98/C 310/10) WRITTEN QUESTION E-4014/97


by Patricia McKenna (V) to the Commission
(14 January 1998)

Subject: Keeping of animals in circuses

Does the Commission have any proposals concerning the keeping of wild animals in circuses?

Does it agree that keeping wild animals − particularly larger animals such as elephants and bears in circuses and
training them to do special tricks frequently involves cruelty? Does it accept that this practice runs contrary to the
provisions of the Treaty of Amsterdam on animal welfare?

Would the Commission be willing to compile a list of which animals may and may not be kept in circuses and
used for circus performances?

Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission


(6 February 1998)

Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 of 9 December 1996 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by
regulating trade therein (1) contains provisions on the importation of animals of the species listed in its Annexes
as well as on their housing and transport. In addition, the Commission’s proposal for a Council recommendation
relating to the keeping of wild animals in zoos (2) will be extended with the recommendation that Member States
adopt appropriate provisions for the keeping of wild animals in other establishments, such as circuses. The
Commission would like to point out, however, that the above instruments do not fall within the scope of the
declaration (No 24) in relation to the protection of animal welfare attached to the Treaty on European Union.

Finally, as the number of species from which wild-collected animals are available to circuses under Council
Regulation (EC) No 338/97 is already limited and further reduced by conditions with regard to housing facilities
and transport, the Commission does not intend to draw up the list mentioned by the Honourable Member.

(1) OJ L 61, 3.3.1997.


(2) COM(95) 619 final.