Collage positieflijst NL

Proud of Dutch Positive List

We at AAP are very proud of the Dutch government’s introduction of the whitelist of pets and hobby animals. This list, also known as the Positive List, is the result of years of efforts by AAP and other animal welfare organisations to better regulate which mammals can be kept as pets or hobby animals.

Why a Positive List

Keeping exotic pets often leads to problems. Many of the animals in our rescue centres, such as servals, sugar squirrels and skunks, have a history of private ownership. Without the Positive List, these animals continue to live a life they are unfit for. Or they are abandoned, leading to animal suffering and overcrowded shelters.

AAP director David van Gennep: “Finally, many exotic animals will get the benefit of the doubt. In the past, the law was on the side of the traders and the animals suffered. Since the law was changed in 1992, we have had to rescue thousands of animals. Every year and every animal has been one too many.

Serval Xirus
Serval Xirus was kept as a pet and had all sorts of old broken bones due to poor care.

"Since the law changed, we have had to rescue thousands more animals. Every year and every animal was one too many, so we are very happy that those days are behind us!"

What is a Positive List

As early as 1992, the Dutch Animal Welfare Act stipulated that a Positive List should be introduced to combat the proliferation of privately owned exotic animals. Previous attempts to introduce such a list failed because hobbyists successfully challenged the assessment method used in court.

A completely new assessment methodology has been developed for the Pets and Hobby Animals List, which has been in force since 1 July 2024. The list includes mammal species that have been assessed by independent experts as suitable for private ownership. Animals that are not on the list cannot be kept as pets to ensure animal welfare, public health and safety. Out of more than 300 mammal species assessed, only 30 have been found to be suitable.

Sugar glider
A sugar glider, not a suitable pet. From 1 July 2024, it will no longer be allowed to be kept as a pet.
Video: David van Gennep on the Positive List

In this video, AAP director David van Gennep and actress Loes Haverkort discuss the Positive List. Why is it important to have this list now? How does it work? And why are some animals on the list and some are not?

The role of AAP and the future

AAP has been advocating the introduction of the Dutch Positive List for years and has closely followed and supported its development. However, the introduction of this list does not mean that we are done. AAP is already working hard on the next steps: Positive Lists in all EU member states that do not yet have them. This is how we want to end the suffering of exotic mammals across Europe.

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