02.08.2017 – Czech Republic puts an end to fur farming

Fur farming has been prohibited in the Czech Republic as of today, August 2, 2017.

The law concerns the "raising and killing animals exclusively or mainly for their furs", such as foxes and minks. Nine existing fur farms will be forced to close by January 31st, 2019. This decision reflects the general opinion on fur farming, as 83 per cent of Czechs are in favour of closing fur farms.

At present bans on fur production have also been adopted by Austria, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, and the United Kingdom. Due to the high prohibitions and standards of captivity in Germany and Switzerland farming animals for fur is hindered. In Belgium, Wallonia and the Region of Brussels-capital have banned fur farming. Currently the Flemish Minister of Animal Welfare is considering a draft law banning such farms.

Read more here 






02.08.2017 – Nicolas Hulot wants to create a think tank on animal welfare

France's Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot announced on Wednesday 2 August, that he wants to "create a think tank on animal welfare" under the authority of "a philosopher and a parliamentarian". "This is a societal matter, we should not be afraid to raise it," said Nicolas Hulot, wishing to set up a future group capable to draw conclusions concerning animal welfare.

Read more here


18.07.2017- Brussels region considering a ban on the use of fairground ponies

Bianca Debaets, the Brussels secretary of state responsible for animal welfare has declared that the Brussels region is considering banning the use of fairground ponies from January 2019. Until it will come into force, transitional measures are still to be discussed with fairground operators.

Read more here.


18.07.2017 – FOUR PAWS joins new animal welfare group BelgPAAG to fight online illegal pet trade

Belgium, 18.07.2017 – The international animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS is now part of the new animal welfare group BelPAAG (Belgian Pet Advertising Advisory Group) and will work jointly with the group to promote responsible pet advertising. Unscrupulous trading of puppies and other animals online is a growing concern across and outside Europe, due to the fact that no EU legal framework regarding online selling of pets exists, which makes this trend difficult to control.

Pierre SULTANA, Director of the European Policy Office of FOUR PAWS in Brussels stated that, “we are looking forward to cooperating with BelPAAG and we will work towards a collaboration to further strengthening consumer awareness and to track down and regulate this sector. FOUR PAWS has been actively involved in tackling illegal online pet trade of classified ads since 2016, and has developed a set of measures to protect animals sold online. In addition, it has ranked the 42 classified sites which it researched according to these measures. FOUR PAWS, International Pet Deception campaign (www.petdeception.org) has so far shown tangible results with some classified ad sites, introducing the measures to make their sites safer for consumers and for the pets sold on their sites. This includes Belgium, as it plays a signicant role in tackling illegal trade of pets. In this regard, our EU office in Belgium has ranked the three main classified ads websites, with whom we liased to improve their rules".

From the outset, animal welfare organizations, trade associations and veterinary bodies in the UK joined the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG), created in 2001. PAAG was established to combat and raise public awareness of irresponsible and unscrupulous selling and buying of pets online. The Belgian branch will establish a list of compliant websites based on IPAAG Minimum Standards, including providing important information on responsible buying of pets and providing a mechanism for the public to report adverts which do not meet IPAAG’s requirements. 

Julie Sanders Director of FOUR PAWS Companion Animals Program added that “it is important organisations join forces to lobby classified ad sites to introduce measures which protect animals being sold online. The lack of legislation in this area means that we need classified ad sites to take responsibility for ensuring that their sites are safe for both animals and consumers. One way to do this is to introduce the measures that have been developed by BelPAAG and FOUR PAWS. If introduced, these measures will not only help to reduce illegal activities, but also increase responsible selling and buying of pets online”.


16.07.207 – Dismantling of a vast traffic of horsemeat in Europe

Sunday July 16, Europol announces the dismantling of a vast traffic of horsemeat unfit for human consumption in Europe. The network had ramifications across eight European countries: France, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, including Belgium where the leader of the criminal organization was arrested with the collaboration of the Federal Police, the Federal Food Agency in Belgium and Guardia Civil. In total 66 individuals were arrested or investigated.

Read more here


13.07.2017 ‘Joining things up on pet welfare’ – a view on the need for pet welfare legislation in Great Britain

The Veterinary Record, official journal of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) publication ‘Joining things up on pet welfare’, highlight’s the need for legislation on pet welfare. It refers to the position paper, from the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) and the report from the Blue Cross animal welfare charity, highlight the growing problem of dog trade in many European countries.

Read more on the position paper of FVE: ‘Profit should never take priority over animal health and welfare’.

Read more on the report of the Blue Cross for pets: “Unpicking the knots: The case for a more cohesive approach to pet welfare legislation’ in Great Britain.



28.08.2017 Food integrity in the food chain: How can the animal production sector contribute? EAAP Annual Meeting in Tallinn

The ATF-EAAP annual meeting will take place on August 28th in Tallinn, Estonia, to discuss ‘Food integrity in the food chain:  How can the animal production sector contribute?’. The programme is now available online.

It will gather animal science with practice of animal production and connect researchers, policy-makers, industry representatives and societal organisations.

The Animal Task Force (ATF) promotes a sustainable and competitive animal production in Europe. They are a private partnership of experts from knowledge institutes and industry representative organisations from across Europe. They work closely together with EAAP on setting the European agenda for research and innovation in the animal domain.

The European Federation for Animal Science or EAAP is an international non-governmental organization which aims to improve the knowledge and the dissemination of research results of domestic animals farming. Membership is open to scientists, animal breeders and administrators.  


The future CAP should include Animal Welfare in the decision-making processes of the EU Commission

FOUR PAWS calls for Animal Welfare friendly production to be taken into account

On 7th July 2017, during the conference ‘The CAP: Have your say’ in Brussels, members of civil society, industries and decision-makers gathered to discuss the needs of the future of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). FOUR PAWS and Eurogroup for Animals, represented the voice of animal welfare advocates, underlining the need to ensure that animal welfare was included in the discussions.

Phil Hogan, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, presented the results of the public consultation based on over 322,000 contributions, from all EU Member States. The views of the EU citizens and stakeholders were gathered to identify the challenges and the priorities for the future CAP at the EU level. According to the results, Animal Welfare constitutes a major challenge. Although Commissioner Hogan expressed the need for “fresh money for fresh initiatives”, animal welfare was not mentioned throughout the conference.

Pierre Sultana, Director of the FOUR PAWS’ European Policy Office took this opportunity to underline that “the results of the public consultation clearly reveal that citizens are highly concerned with animal welfare and the EU Commission should therefore include this element in their decision-making. The intensive husbandry system should be adapted and include more sustainability and animal welfare standards.”

Reineke Hameleers, Director of Eurogroup for Animals comments, ‘’Today’s CAP has been successful in sustaining European agriculture, but has, along with global trends and competition within the agricultural market, encouraged the intensification of animal production, at the expense of animal welfare. With this recent public consultation, citizens and organisations across Europe have expressed the need for a future CAP to deliver its objective of promoting animal welfare. The Commission should take stock of public opinion to re-think the current CAP system that significantly improves animal welfare.’’ 

FOUR PAWS, insists on the urgent necessity and the importance of having good husbandry. Animal Welfare practices need to benefit both animals and farmers. In this respect, the EU Commission needs to recognize this and include improved animal welfare standards within the CAP, as this concern has clearly been displayed throughout the results of the public consultation.


An official answer from EU Commissioner Andriukaitis regarding online trade of companion animals

The EU Commission has no intention of regulating the online pet trade

Brussels, 05.07.2017. Concern about pet health and welfare due to unregulated online trade was at the heart of a joint letter sent early June to EU Commissioners Andriukaitis (DG SANTE) and Ansip (Vice-President of the EU Commission and in charge of the EU Digital Single Market) by the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE), the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations (FECAVA) and FOUR PAWS International. In particular, the letter called upon the EU Commission to establish through EU legislation, eight measures aiming to enable responsible selling and buying of animals online, and more precisely to improve the traceability of sellers and of the animals being sold.

In reply to the letter, the Commissioners recalled the existence of current relevant legislation, in particular those covering the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets’ legislation, the (new) Animal Health Law and the E-Commerce Directive.

National enforcement "not enough"

Pierre Sultana, Director of European Policy Office commented: "We appreciate that EU Commissioner Andriukaitis made clear that under the new Animal Health Law, any keeper of dogs and cats for commercial purposes will be required to register his establishment, even if he is not the owner and keeps the animals only on a temporary basis. However, it is disappointing that the EU Commission doesn't intend to go further and will be relying on the Member States for proper enforcement of this new legislation. Research into 42 classified ad sites in 10 countries carried out by FOUR PAWS has clearly revealed that this is not enough." Indeed, several loopholes in EU legislation and its enforcement have been identified by FOUR PAWS' Pet Deception Campaign (www.petdeception.org) and by the joint FVE, UEVP and FECAVA report "Working towards responsible dog trade”.

Rafael Laguens, President of the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE): “Citizens expect the EU to play an important role in helping Member States to protect the licit economy against financial and tax fraud, unfair competition and organised crime behind Illegal trade of companion animals.  Especially as this trade is more than just a financial deal. It deals with living beings, caring owners and relates to cross-border spread of infectious and zoonotic diseases, consumer protection and animal cruelty. This is why regulation of online animal trade is imperative and action should be taken urgently.

President Jerzy Gawor, FECAVA president stressed: "Profit should never take priority over animal health and welfare or public health and should never harm the consumer. Therefore, FECAVA urges EU legislators to regulate standards of dog breeding and trade, including over the internet. To facilitate enforcement and to protect consumers, public health as well as animal health and welfare, we furthermore ask to render the identification and registration of dogs mandatory throughout Europe."

Organisations call for "seller registration"

Julie Sanders, Director of Companion Animals Programme added: "With the switch from newspaper ads to the internet, sellers have been able to reach a much wider audience of potential buyers, on both a national and international level. Furthermore, sellers do not have to register with classified ad sites which means that they remain anonymous this has led to a big increase in illegal activities such as the selling of illegally imported puppies and exotic animals."

FVE, FECAVA and FOUR PAWS International are therefore calling for classified ad sites to introduce seller registration on their sites to protect both the public and the animals being sold.

Protection for animals and buyers

The organisations will continue to lobby for a mandatory registration system as part of the new Animal Health law, where breeders and sellers are not only registered but are also legally obliged to show their registration number, when selling an animal online. In addition, the registration details should be held on a publicly accessible database, so that buyers can check if the breeder or seller they are buying from is registered. This will mean that buyers and sellers can be traced so that consumers have some protection.



* VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS is an Austrian-based international animal welfare organisation with offices in ten European countries, South Africa, the USA, Thailand and Australia. With its European Policy Office, VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS has a long standing experience in consultancy on Animal Welfare in Brussels.

Press Contact:

VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS,  European Policy Office Avenue de la Renaissance 19/11, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

Email: office@vier-pfoten.eu

Phone: 0032-2-7400888

Websites: www.vier-pfoten.eu  www.carodog.eu, www.carocat.eu, http://lawyersforanimalprotection.eu

* The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) is an umbrella organisation of 44 veterinary organisations from 38 European countries, representing a total of around 240 000 veterinarians. The FVE strives to promote animal health, animal welfare and public health across Europe. www.fve.org

* The Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations (FECAVA) is the platform for the promotion of the professional development and representation of companion animal veterinarians in Europe. Founded in 1990, it currently has 40 national member associations and 13 associate member associations. FECAVA represents over 30,000 companion animal practitioners throughout Europe. www.fecava.org