European Union strategy for the protection and welfare of animals 2012-2015: new developments in relation to English greyhounds and Spanish greyhounds (Galgos) subjected to horrific acts of torture

16 May 2013    
Oreste Rossi (EFD)


The Commissioner’s answer to Question E-010202/2012 (17 December 2012), in which he refers to other, supposedly similar questions (E-010625/2010 and E-009212/2011), is considered to be insufficient, especially in light of the new developments in this regard and of Parliament’s adoption, on 4 July 2012, of the European Union strategy for the protection and welfare of animals 2012-2015 (2012/2043(INI)), in particular, where it stresses the importance of implementing the full body of existing animal welfare legislation in all the EU Member States.
In view of the failure to establish a close link between animal health protection and public health in every Member State; of the failure, on the part of the Member States, to implement guidelines and strategies; of the lack of transparency and information that arouses interest in Europe for two reasons: the increase in the illegal trade in animals, especially those bound for third countries, and the use of those animals in scientific research; of the lack of animal welfare standards in relations with third countries; of the need for greater ambition and for high-priority standards to regulate animal welfare, particularly in negotiations, including on non-trade matters; and of the need for resources to increase the number of inspections and to adequately train animal welfare inspectors, can the Commission say:
1.     what controls it has introduced with regard to the Member States’ failure to implement guidelines;
2.     what controls it is carrying out on the illegal trade between Member States and third countries;
3.     what checks it is carrying out on the use of dogs for scientific and research studies;
4.     how the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) intends to improve controls and increase the number of inspections in the veterinary field?

2 July 2013    
Answer given by Mr Borg on behalf of the Commission

The Commission is responsible for ensuring that EC law is correctly applied, and for this purpose the Food and Veterinary Office of the Commission’s Health and Consumers Directorate General (FVO) carries out audits in the Member States to verify compliance with EU legislation. When carrying out its audits, the FVO also considers possible guidelines issued by the Commission itself to support smooth implementation of legislation. However, those guidelines do not have a legally binding value.

Where a Member State fails to comply with EC law, the Commission may start infringement proceedings against that Member State and, where necessary, refer the case to the European Court of Justice.

Each Member State is responsible for the effective implementation of EU legislation regulating Union trade in and imports of dogs and cats from third countries and non-commercial movements of pet animals into Member States.

The use of animals for scientific purposes is covered by Directive 2010/63/EU. Member States were to transpose the directive in their national legislation by 10 November 2012 and apply it from 1 January 2013. The directive requires that each project using animals, including dogs, for scientific purposes has to be evaluated and authorised. Dogs need to be purpose bred and their housing and care has to comply with the standards set out in the directive. There are specific provisions on risk based inspections of user establishment, including unannounced visits. In case of due reason for concern, the Commission may audit the national inspection system.

The duties of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)(1) do not include the implementation of controls and inspections.

(1)    OJ L31/1, 1.2002.