Deputy Leader of the Conservative MEPs, Jacqueline Foster, has been praised by the conservationalist and actress Virginia McKenna OBE for backing a new report calling for EU action over the illegal trade in wild animals.
Ms McKenna - who won the hearts of millions for her role in the 1966 true-life film Born Free - was speaking at the launch of a report at the European Parliament by the Born Free Foundation, hosted by Mrs Foster.
The UK-based charity's report, "End Wildlife Trafficking", calls upon the EU to take a strong and effective stand against the global criminal trade in wild animals and animal parts.
It includes recommendations for the drawing up of an EU Action Plan on illegal wildlife trade, including ensuring that the EU sets measurable targets and supports international agencies.
The trade is estimated to be worth over £12bn annually, with over 2,500 seizures of wildlife products made in the EU every year.
Mrs Foster, the vice-president of the Animal Welfare Parliamentary Intergroup said: "I was delighted to host an event for such a forward-thinking and innovative animal welfare charity.
"We need to send a strong message to governments across the world to take responsibility and enforce the laws that are already in place.
With Born Free's new report I hope we can ensure that tackling animal trafficking remains a priority issue for our governments".