Animal welfare and hunting practices

5 February 2014


Sandrine Bélier (Verts/ALE) 

The practice of hunting with hounds or dogs is extremely detrimental to the welfare of wild animals due to the stress and suffering that it causes the hunted animal. From an ecological point of view, hunting with hounds or dogs does not offer any particular advantages with regard to species conservation objectives. From a legal point of view, although practically every European country has already prohibited it, this practice is still subject to particularly favourable conditions in certain Member States.

The Commission initiated debate on the principle of animal welfare at a European level, which is illustrated by the European Union Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012‐2015 (COM(2012)6 final/2).

Can the Commission explain how it intends to ensure that the principle of animal welfare is observed?

Does the Commission intend to regulate hunting with hounds or dogs, or propose that the Member States ban this practice in light of how it is clearly inconsistent with respecting animal welfare?

31 March 2014


Answer given by Mr Borg on behalf of the Commission

European Union institutions must stay within the competences conferred on them by the Treaties. Their power to improve animal welfare by law making and enforcement is limited to the policies mentioned in Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, i.e. agriculture, fisheries, transport, internal market, research and technological development and space.

As a result, the Commission has no mandate to put forward specific policies for regulating the welfare of wild animals in relation to the hunting with hounds or dogs.