Tiger behind bars

Milestones in the fight to ban the #RuthlessTrade in Europe

Mission to expose the horrific realities of the tiger business 


In 2018, FOUR PAWS set itself the task of banning the trade of tigers and their parts. Allowing tigers to be moved anywhere in Europe and abroad without anyone keeping track of what happens to them, perpetuates the notion that captive tigers are lesser than the ones in the wild. It turns wildlife into a commodity, rather than living, feeling beings.

What followed is a challenging road of investigations, talks with European policymakers and work with national authorities and the press to expose the legislative irregularities that lead to the relentless demand for tigers and their parts.

Our fight continues.

Tiger laying on platform behind thick bars

April 2023: EU releases Guidance to increase controls on the trade of captive-born and bred live tigers 

EU Commission announces its adoption of an EU Tiger Guidance on the export, re-export and intra-EU trade of captive-born and bred live tigers, and their parts and derivativesIf implemented by Member Statesit will essentially end the trade of tigers for commercial purposes (including private keeping or tigers used for entertainment).  Read more here.


June 2021: Need to ban the commercial trade with tigers recognized in EU Commission's long-term plan to recover Europe's biodiversity 

The Biodiversity Strategy Report, the European Commission’s long-term plan to protect nature and reverse the degradation of ecosystems by 2030 now includes a reference on tiger trade and calls the EU to end the commercial trade in endangered species and their parts.


September 2020: WIN! FOUR PAWS expert input included in report by Malta’s Animal Welfare Commissioner

A year ago, the FOUR PAWS team travelled to Malta to meet with the Animal Welfare Commissioner and offer their expert input on the keeping of big cats. The team also neutered and provided veterinary care to several puma’s being privately kept. Following the meeting, the Commissioner not only thanked the team for the help but also included our recommendations in a report. It advocates for a ban on the breeding of big cats, a ban on petting and interaction and better legislation and handing out a €20,000 fine per animal for those involved in illegal activities. Read more here!

May 2020: Two joint letters were sent to the European Commission demanding further action on ending the commercial trade of tigers

Together with European Organisation Eurogroup for Animals, included the need for stricter measures to end commercial tiger trade letters sent to European decision makers.
The letter is also shared with National Ministers in key European countries like Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

Note: Any advertisements that may appear during the viewing of this video are unrelated to FOUR PAWS. We assume no liability for this content.

April 2020: FOUR PAWS latest tiger report shows European authorities are unaware of numbers of captive tigers and scale of the commercial trade

MEP Anja Hazekamp said : It’s evident from Four Paws’ report that the whole illicit marketplace is out of control, and it’s very disturbing that there are backdoors in our legislation that allow this trade to happen.


March 2020: FOUR PAWS joined the worldwide #BanWildlifeMarkets campaign to ask the World Health Organisation to prevent future pandemics and support a ban on the trade in live wild animals including tigers.

As a result: In March, the United Nations’ biodiversity chief openly called for a global ban on wildlife markets.
In April, WHO’s Director-General Dr. Tedros said that ‘Governments must rigorously enforce bans on the sale and trade of wildlife for food.’ Only to reverse its position a month later
The Environment Commissioner of the European Commission recently said ‘The European Union will step up efforts to control wildlife trading and make factory farming more sustainable, given that both issues have played a role in the coronavirus pandemic’.

January 2020: FOUR PAWS’ campaigning ensures the EU tiger trade is brought to the attention of the newly installed European Commission

FOUR PAWS ensures the EU tiger trade is included in consultations about the EU Commission’s EU Green Deal and the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy 2020.

Tiger in a cage

November 2019: MEPs raise issue of EU tiger trade to the EU Commission 

Following five written questions submitted by FOUR PAWS to MEPs from different member states. 

October 2019: FOUR PAWS offers help to authorities following the tragic case of the 10 tigers stuck at the Polish Belarusian border

#RuthlessTrade campaign is featured in Polish magazine and the documentary by TVN24 follows the tiger’s 2000 km journey.

October 2019: Petition reaches 200,000

People call on the EU Commission to end the cruel tiger trade. Sign here!

September 2019: Press champions #RuthlessTrade campaign - published in 193 news articles across the world! 

Including UK, Austria, Germany, Malta, Lithuania, France, Italy, Czech Republic, Poland, Netherlands and Slovakia.

Tiger cubs

September 2019: FOUR PAWS exposes trader in Lithuania selling tiger cubs online 

FOUR PAWS reveals tiger trader’s willingness to falsify papers and his claim to have illegally trafficked other animals into Europe from Africa. 

Tiger on leash

August 2019: FOUR PAWS attends CoP 18 – Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) 

FOUR PAWS along with partnering organisations hold a joint side event at the conference that focuses on the tiger trade. FOUR PAWS report on EU trade is presented to a global audience.

FOUR PAWS helps draft and signs onto multiple interventions raising the issue of tiger trade, ensuring it is acknowledged among decision-makers.

Delegations from around the world vote to maintain the status quo related to tiger trade i.e. tigers should not be commercially bred and countries with tiger farms and/or large numbers of captive tigers should be audited and submit numbers.

July 2019: Czech Republic champions FOUR PAWS report and research

Czech Republic quotes FOUR PAWS report when asking the EU Commission to table EU tiger trade issue at CITES Management Authority meeting COM 86. 

June 2019: 150,000 people sign our petition supporting the EU tiger trade ban

Sign here!

April 2019: FOUR PAWS’ research on EU tiger trade is mentioned in a letter to the EU Presidency 

Letter written by the European Parliament’s 'Intergroup for the Welfare and Conservation of Animals' urges the EU to vote in support of tiger protection. 

April 2019: Members of the European Parliament show support for our fight 

MEPs in Germany, Austria, and Bulgaria sign pledge to support ban on tiger trade

Note: Any advertisements that may appear during the viewing of this video are unrelated to FOUR PAWS. We assume no liability for this content.

March 2019: #RuthlessTrade pop-up store in Germany - how would you react to being offered tiger products? 

We challenge members of the public on what is tiger trade – see their reactions here! 

December 2018: FOUR PAWS confronts EU Commission with evidence of EU tiger trade 

FOUR PAWS along with EIA and WPSI write joint letter to three European Commissioners.
Commissioners ignore seriousness of the issue.

Tiger behind bars

November 2018: FOUR PAWS publishes report on European tiger trade and shares it with all EU member states and the EU Commission

'Protect our tigers: ban the commercial trade', read it here. 

Tiger Eye Projection in London UK, 2018

October 2018: FOUR PAWS UK projects ‘#RuthlessTrade – It’s CLOSER than you think’ on iconic landmarks throughout London

to raise awareness of the European tiger trade.

September 2018: Czech Republic submits report to CITES

outlining evidence of illegal tiger trade and seizures within the country. 


August 2018: A WIN! Czech Republic suspends commercial export of tigers to non-EU countries

FOUR PAWS previously shared investigation results with Czech enforcement officials.

July 2018: FOUR PAWS petition hits 100,000 signatures  

Sign here!

Note: Any advertisements that may appear during the viewing of this video are unrelated to FOUR PAWS. We assume no liability for this content.

July 2018: FOUR PAWS releases hidden camera footage showing Czech trader, L. Berousek offering to sell tigers to Asian buyers

Watch it here!

Note: Any advertisements that may appear during the viewing of this video are unrelated to FOUR PAWS. We assume no liability for this content.

July 2018: FOUR PAWS calls for an EU-wide ban on commercial tiger trade following dead tiger and tiger parts found in Czech Republic and launches a public petition

This footage shows the discovery of the animal along with cookware used to produce traditional Asian medicine products (TCM). Following its arrest, the trader, L. Berousek only receives a suspended sentence and a fine.

Tiger behind bars

ban the tiger trade now!

Call on the European Commission to ban the commercial trade in tigers.

Sign here!

Share now!