10.07.2018 – Protecting the EU’s internal market and consumer rights against the negative implications of the illegal trade in companion animals

Czech Republic, Redhošt | 2013 09 15 | Illegal puppy traders are investigated at a market by a tv-journalist from the German broadcaster NDR together with FOUR PAWS.

Today, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) has voted in favor of the adoption of a Motion for a Resolution on “Protecting the EU’s internal market and consumer rights against the negative implications of the illegal trade in companion animals”

FOUR PAWS welcomes this vote, which would result in an official request from the EU Parliament to the EU Commission to tackle the illegal trade of pets issues, if it is confirmed in September during the plenary vote. Specifically, the resolution highlights the need to have mandatory identification and registration of dogs and cats, breeder and seller traceability, as well as an EU Action Plan to address the illegal trade in companion animals. It also implies better enforcement of EU legislation and better communication between competent authorities of different Member States on illegal trade issues.

In particular, FOUR PAWS warmly welcomes the positive vote of the Committee on MEP Pietikanen amendments, which are referring directly to FOUR PAWS Reports of 2013 and 2016 regarding illegal puppy trade in Europe, companion animals’ identification and concrete issues with the Pet Passport and TRACES schemes. Moreover, this Motion for a Resolution refers to FOUR PAWS ThanksEbay Campaign (www.thanksebay.com) regarding the promotion of voluntary stricter rules, to verify the identity of online sellers and to improve the welfare of animals that are sold, that some classified ads websites are starting to adopt.

FOUR PAWS is delighted that its work has been relayed at such an official level, and that the ENVI Committee acknowledges once again the importance to fight illegal trade in companion animals. FOUR PAWS invites the EU Parliament to support the ENVI Committee for its vote in plenary, expected in September.

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Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union

For the third time, after 1998 and 2006, Austria is holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU. As part of the Presidency  Trio Programme with Estonia and Bulgaria, Austria is taking over the Bulgarian Presidency, from 1 July 2018 until 31 December 2018.

In line with the slogan "A Europe that protects", the Austrian Presidency intends to focus on three main areas:

–         migration, security (securing external borders against illegal immigration) and the protection of the EU’s external borders.

–         the future European budget by maintaining Europe’s competitiveness through digitalisation.

–         stability in Austria’s neighbouring countries focusing on the EU accession for Western Balkan countries.

FOUR PAWS is an Austrian based animal welfare organisation who plays a major role in the field of the Animal Welfare and has proudly celebrated its 30th anniversary since its inception.  Our European Policy Office wishes Austria all the best for its Presidency and welcomes any future initiatives that could be undertaken to improve Animal Welfare. One of the major tasks will be the negotiation on the proposals for the modernization and simplification of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), after 2020.

 

More information:

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3rd Meeting of the EU Platform on Animal Welfare

The European Animal Welfare Platform

FOUR PAWS welcomes the creation of the voluntary initiative subgroup on improving health and welfare of pets (dogs) in trade, and of other new subgroups

Brussels, 21.06.2018 – The international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS is one of the members of the EU Platform on Animal Welfare launched by the EU Commission last year. Yesterday the third meeting of the Platform took place in Brussels.

FOUR PAWS welcomes the activities of the Platform as an additional forum for stakeholders to exchange views about animal welfare.

In particular, FOUR PAWS welcomes the initiative of the Dutch government to establish a new voluntary initiative subgroup on improving the health and welfare of pets (dogs) in trade, to tackle issues related to the trade in pets in Europe. Representatives of FOUR PAWS, other NGOs, independent experts, and Member State representatives had their first meeting on this topic on 19th June, and yesterday their plans were presented at the Platform meeting.

Yesterday’s meeting of the EU Platform on Animal Welfare also offered the opportunity to present the activities of the subgroup established by the Commission on the transport of live animals.

Furthermore, a new subgroup on tail docking of pigs was launched by the Commission, while various Member States announced their intention to launch own-initiative subgroups on pig castration and fish welfare, in addition to the existing one on equidae.

FOUR PAWS is confident that the new subgroup dedicated to improving the health and welfare of pets will produce concrete proposals to improve the enforcement of EU pet legislation, and identify together with Member States effective actions to control more efficiently pet movements. “Already in 2016, through a report and a European conference[1], we highlighted the enforcement issues met in practice by the competent authorities, in particular in relation to the identification of dogs, and the Pet Passport and TRACES schemes”, explains Sophie Duthoit, EU Companion Animal Policy and Legal Coordinator at FOUR PAWS Europe, who is the organisation’s representative in the subgroup. “The subgroup will also be the right place to promote the enforcement of mandatory breeder registration under the upcoming Animal Health Law”, she continues.

 

FOUR PAWS also welcomes the progress made within the working group on extreme temperatures of the subgroup on transport. “All stakeholders have shown a very constructive attitude by sharing information on existing problems and ideas to solve them” says Adolfo Sansolini, FOUR PAWS’ representative in the subgroup on transport and in the Platform. “We also agreed that it would not be sufficient to prepare new factsheets for drivers and other recipients, therefore we will work on a parallel document too, through which we will propose a communication strategy for their effective diffusion. We will also highlight parts of the existing legislation whose enforcement is difficult, or that need changing altogether. It is our hope that the EU Commission will act on our suggestions in order to ensure that animal welfare during transport is improved through all necessary means.”

 

View original source.

To review the web stream of the meeting: https://webcast.ec.europa.eu/3rd-meeting-of-the-platform-on-animal-welfare

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ICFAW signed a cooperation agreement with the OIE

ICFAW was formed in 2001 to represent non-governmental animal welfare organisations from all over the world at the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). On May 2018, the two organisations signed an agreement which will strenghten their partnership to help improve animal welfare globally through the effective implementation of OIE animal welfare standards and guidelines.

FOUR PAWS is member of the ICFAW

Please find here below the ICFAW Press Release


Continue reading ICFAW signed a cooperation agreement with the OIE

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EU Court of Justice: Slaughter without stunning on temporary sites was and will remain illegal in Belgium

Today, in the C-426/16 case, the Court of Justice of the EU ruled that Regulation 1099/2009 is valid and is respecting freedom of belief. In this case, the flemish Court of Brussels was asked to decide if the Brussels law prohibiting ritual slaughters (slaughter without prior stunning) in temporary slaughterhouses (but not in "official" slaughterhouses) was valid. The plaintif, an organisation representing muslims organisations, has estimated that this duty to use only "official" slaughterhouses was in practice infringing the freedom of beliefs of muslims in Brussels. The flemish Court of Brussels decided to hold on the litigation and refer the question to the EU Court of Justice, whose finally stated in favour of the validity of the legislation.

Today's decision is a big step for animals slaughtered every year without stunning, and will probably help the Belgian Constitutional Court to validate the similar legislation adopted by other Belgian regions (wallonia and flanders) that are currently challenged. 

Read more on: https://www.gaia.be/fr/actualite/cour-europeenne-justice-linterdiction-labattage-sans-etourdissement-sur-les-sites

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Animals should be better protected during disasters

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Update of 31th May: The final report has been voted in plenary

FOUR PAWS welcomes today's European Parliament's ENVI vote recognizing the key role of animals during disasters

The EP Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety has overwhelmingly supported today the consideration of animals in a EU disaster related political text. The adopted report on the Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Decision No 1313/2013/EU on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism, rightly points out the importance to take animals into consideration when planning disaster risk prevention, by suggesting their inclusion in two different parts of the text.

Until now, the Union Civil Protection Mechanism, which aims at enabling a coordinated response to disasters, points out the importance of people, environment and property, including cultural heritage, but fails to include animals as potential victims during disasters, which is essential for the community to recover more quickly and to avoid poverty.

"Disasters demonstrate how much animals are an important part of our society: not only farm animals are crucial for many agricultural businesses and in the European economy, but also companion animals are important, as they are considered as members of the family. Finally, wildlife is a complete part of the identity of a country. For this reason, FOUR PAWS has been supporting for years, local communities that are victims of natural or man-made disasters, by helping animals", says Pierre SULTANA, Director of the European Policy Office of FOUR PAWS in BRUSSELS, and a trained First Animal Responder. Last year, FOUR PAWS assisted animals during humanitarian and rescue missions, such as in PUERTO RICO after hurricane Maria, or in GAZA, MOSUL and ALEPPO.

According to the European Commission's DG ECHO, for every euro spent in disaster prevention, 4 to 7 euros are saved in disaster response. "Given the importance of animals for the economy and the communities, we are pleased that the Parliamentarians encourage countries and the Commission to adopt a medium- to long-term and sustainable approach, to mitigate the impact of disasters on animals and to help develop awareness. The next step, shall be to ensure the planning, the implementation and the enforcement in the EU and national legislation thereof", warns SULTANA.

The report should now be voted during the plenary sessions of May or June 2018, before the launch of the trilogue negotiations.

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27.04.2018 – Draft decree on Walloon Code of Animal Welfare adopted by Minister Carlo Di Antonio (cdH)

Thirty years after the adoption of the law on the protection and the welfare of animals, the Walloon government adopted on 25 April 2018, the animal welfare code, still to be submitted to the Council of State.

Fourteen measures have been decided based on the principle that animals are sensitive beings, capable of feeling emotions and hold a certain level of consciousness.


the Code aims at ensuring the protection and welfare of animals:

  • the keeping of animals
  • prohibited practices and authorized interventions on animals
  • animal trade
  • the transport and entry of animals in the Walloon territory
  • the killing of animals
  • animal testing
  • inspecting, investigating, identifying, prosecuting, punishing and taking restorative measures regarding animal offenses.

Main dispositions laid down in the Code:

  1. Regarding the detention of animals:
  • A license will now be required to hold an animal. A database to identify people who are prohibited from holding an animal will be implemented.
  • Abandonment, neglect and mistreatment of an animal are prohibited in Wallonia and are severely repressed.
  • The identification and registration of dogs and cats is obligatory, under certain conditions.
  • It is forbidden to hold a cetacean in Wallonia as well as animals for exclusive or main purposes of fur production.
  • It is forbidden to organize animal fights or animal shooting exercises.
  • As of 1 January 2023, horses will no longer be considered as an attraction at fairs. Circuses will no longer be able to hold animals other than domestic animals.
  • Battery cages for laying hens will be prohibited by 2028 (egg code number 3) and will affect 9 farms in Wallonia.
  1. Regarding the animal trade
  • It is prohibited, for the purpose of facilitating the sale or donation of an animal, to falsify information relating to its age, origin or state of health. It is also prohibited to market or give an animal to a minor or to canvassing.
  • An animal that has not been identified or registered cannot be marketed, that is, donated or sold.
  • Limit the advertisment of the commercialization and donation of animals to combat impulsive acquisitions.
  1. Regarding prohibited practices and permitted animal interventions

It is prohibited:

  • To excite the ferocity of an animal.
  • To impose on an animal work beyond his natural abilities.
  • To improve the vocal abilities of a bird by blinding it.
  • To ship an animal by post, to dye or colour an animal.
  • To award animals as prizes, awards or donations in competitions, lotteries, raffles or betting.
  • Collect hairs or feathers from live animals.
  • To perform a painful procedure without anesthesia.
  1. Measures Regarding the transport and introduction of animals in Walloon territory
  •  It is forbidden to transport or to arrange a transport of animals in such a way that they are likely to be injured or suffer.
  • The duration of the transport must not exceed the duration of 8 hours when moved to a slaughterhouse.
  • The Government may prohibit or restrict the introduction or transit through the Walloon territory of certain species if there are risks of endangering the welfare of the animal. It may also lay down the conditions to be complied with for the introduction or transit through the Walloon territory of certain species.
  1. Regarding the killing of animals
  • An animal can only be killed by a person who holds the required knowledge and skills, and following the most selective, fastest and least painful method for the animal.
  • An animal is killed only after anesthesia or dizziness, with exceptions.
  • For special slaughter methods prescribed by religious rites, the stunning process must be reversible.
  • The Government may allow the slaughter of animals on the farm.
  • Surveillance Cameras will be installed in slaughterhouses intended to verify that the welfare of the animal is respected.
  1. Regarding animal experiments
  • Experiments that have no purpose related to human or animal health are prohibited, particularly those relating to cutaneous corrosivity, phototoxicity, cosmetics, biocides, detergents or aimed at developing tobacco products.
  1. Regarding animal welfare offenses
  • Animal abuse is severely punished in Wallonia. The criminal nature of the facts can now be retained for the most serious cases of abuse. Sanctions can be followed such a prison sentence or a fine of up to 100.000 to 10 million euros.

 

Further information available on wallonie.be

GAIA has welcomed the announcement of the Animal Welfare code in Wallonia (read more here).

 

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25.04.2018 – EU Commissioner for Health, Vytenis Andriukaitis: “We need to re-recognize that animals are sentient beings.”

© Adrian Almasan - www.adrianalmasan.com

FOUR PAWS hosted the first International Animal Welfare Summit in Vienna, Austria

Brussels, 25th April 2018 – International animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS hosted the first International Animal Welfare Summit in Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna on 24th April. The theme of the event: “Animal welfare – question of the future or luxury problem?”. More than 300 guests were in attendance to hear speeches and discussions from experts from the fields of science, nutrition, economics and arts.

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen took over the patronage for this first of its kind event. In his humorous speech, he spoke of animal welfare "as a matter of the heart". Animal welfare was "thank goodness no longer a luxury topic". Rather, it is "an existential question that concerns us all." The summit is a step in the right direction: "Today we will ask ourselves questions and try to find solutions for them together."

European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, also emphasized the importance of animal welfare: "We need to re-recognize that animals are sentient beings." Andriukaitis spoke of the EU's recent achievements in animal welfare, but also on the huge challenges yet to come.

Host Heli Dungler, founder and president of FOUR PAWS, addressed a bitter truth in his welcoming speech: Over the next 30-40 years, the number of farm animals on earth will double. The emergent countries in particular will greatly increase their meat consumption. Dungler warned against the effects of this development not only on animal welfare, but also on the environment.

In his eagerly awaited interview on stage, Ai Weiwei, Chinese conceptual artist and human rights activist, talked about his personal connection with FOUR PAWS. When he did a research piece on refugees in Gaza a few years ago, he came across a tiger rescued by FOUR PAWS. The animal was trapped in an abandoned zoo in Gaza. Animals, according to Ai Weiwei, have always been part of human life – and have been victims of humans for far too long. It's time to reflect on human values ​​and show more responsibility to all living creatures, he added.

Renowned author, activist and scientist Raj Patel took over with his keynote on the topic "A Planet for All?". In his lively and entertaining talk, he focused on cheap mass production with all its devastating effects on humans, animals and the environment.

The present Jordanian Princess Alia, founder of the "Princess Alia Foundation" and long-time companion of FOUR PAWS, was appointed to a special ambassador of the Animal Welfare Summit.

More information about the IAWS 2018 can be found here: http://www.iaws2018.org.

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21.03.2018 – International coalition to fight online trafficking of wild animals

©VIER PFOTEN

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), TRAFFIC, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare launch ‘The Global Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online. The goal is to reduce by wildlife trafficking online 80% by 2020! Giant tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft join in partnership to work together.

Read more on https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/03/wildlife-watch-tech-companies-online-wildlife-crime-coalition/.

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5.03.2018 – First EU Reference Centre for Animal Welfare

The EU Commission has designated the first EU Reference Centre for Animal Welfare made up of a consortium formed by the Wageningen Livestock Research (The Netherlands), the Friedrich Loeffler Institute (Germany) and the Department of Animal Science at Aarhus University (Denmark). It will focus on pig welfare and its designation will be reviewed every five years.

The Centre will provide technical support and coordinated assistance to the Member States to carry out official controls on animal welfare and contribute to the dissemination of good practices, carry out scientific studies, training courses and disseminating research and information on technical innovations.

The link to the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/329 of 5 March 2018 designating a European Union Reference Centre for Animal Welfare is available here.

 

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