In June 2013, the first Working Group of the European Enforcement Network has been established. The first report of this working group is now available.
The Goal is to provide the EU Commission for the Animal Health Law Regulation with a suggestion to improve the coherence of definitions of all species of animals as a key element for better enforcement. This can be a benefit also for the planned EU Animal Welfare Framework Law.
Out of the results of the first Working Group, a report has been done and will be used as a basis to submit the above mentioned suggestion.
A questionnaire has been sent to the participants of this first working groups. Then, the results have been completed with the answers received in the frame of the call for participation published on the website.
The questionnaire was structures as following:
- Part A: Coherence of the translation of the term “sentient being” (Article 13)
- Part B: EU Level:: "Animal", Companion Animal, Farm Animal, Wild Animal
- Part C: National Level
The report shows the following results:
• Article 13 TFEU:
Lack of definition in the Treaty of Lisbon TFEU and diverse inadequate translations in some Member States. The most precise description in a legislation has been found outside Europe Australia.
No consistency at the EU level, and if, related to the respective purposes. At the national level, the preferred solution by the members is a list of species or at least biological criteria.
• Categories of Animals: no consistency on both EU and National Level
o Pet / Companion Animals
While at the EU level, pet animals means mostly traditionally kept animals such as dogs, cats and ferrets, on the national level, the definition is based of the companionship keeping purpose of the animal, including the animals intended to be kept (Estonia, France, Italy).
o Farm Animals
At both national and EU level, farm animals are defined on the purpose to be breed, kept and used by Humans. All members stated that it is just fair not to hide the fate of these animals. However, the definition should consider animal welfare.
o Wild Animals
Surprisingly, there is almost no definition at the EU level. The effects of the non biological based definition has already its effects on wild animals in circuses, as well as on animals in shelters and abandoned animals and their offspring. In the legal systematic, this leads to a two class system of animals, defined as domesticated animals on a biological basis, but not kept. These animals would have less protection than kept animals in this categorization. So, there are doubts if this is compatible with the basic principle of Article 13 TFEU covering all animals without distinction.