French appetite for frogs’ legs threatens frog species, experts warn Macron

French appetite for frogs’ legs threatens frog species, experts warn Macron - Environment - News

Urgent Call to Action: Protecting Frog Species from the Threat of Global Frogs’ Leg Trade

The world-renowned French delicacy, cuisses de grenouille, or frogs’ legs, has cast a shadow of concern over the survival of various frog species. A powerful coalition of more than 500 environmental advocates, led by French nonprofits Robin des Bois and Vétérinaires pour la Biodiversité (Veterinarians for Biodiversity), alongside German charity Pro Wildlife, have penned an open letter to the French President Emmanuel Macron.

In this compelling epistle, they voiced their alarm over the staggering 4,070-ton yearly import of frozen frogs’ legs into the contact Union (EU). This equates to an estimated 80 million–200 million frogs, depending on their size.

As per a collaborative study conducted by Robin des Bois and Pro Wildlife, France alone is responsible for the consumption of over 3,000 tons of frozen frogs’ legs each year. Most of these frogs originate from wild populations in Indonesia, Turkey, and Albania, where several frog species are facing a significant decline. Vietnam is another major exporter; however, their exports primarily consist of farmed frogs rather than wild-caught ones.

The signatories, hailing from fields such as research, nature conservation, and veterinary medicine, urged France to assume its responsibility in safeguarding frog species, given the country’s status as the largest consumer of frogs’ legs within the EU.

Recent studies have shed light on the concerning decline of common species, such as the crab-eating frog and rice-field frog, attributed to “intense commercial harvests and exports for many years.” Despite EU protection against the exploitation of native frog populations under the Habitats Directive, there is no such safeguard for species imported into the region.

Sandra Altherr, head of science at Pro Wildlife, expressed her dismay in a media statement, “It’s absurd: the natural frog populations here in Europe are protected under EU law. But the EU still permits the collection of millions of animals from other countries, even if it threatens their populations there. This is not in line with the EU’s recent biodiversity strategy.”

Alain Moussu, president of Veterinarians for Biodiversity, added his voice to the initiative. “Vets have joined this cause because we are both horrified by the cruelty that prevails in this market and deeply concerned about the ecological imbalances caused by the collapse of amphibian populations.” One potential consequence, Moussu suggested, is an escalating mosquito population, which could have a ripple effect on human health.

The coalition called upon France to devise proposals aimed at protecting declining frog species and to establish international trade regulations for the monitoring, sustainability, and responsibility of the global frogs’ legs trade.

News Finder has reached out to the Élysée Palace for comment.