18.07.2018 – FOUR PAWS research and police raids in Czech Republic uncover ruthless tiger trade

FOUR PAWS

Prague, 18.07.2018 – Recent police raids in the Czech Republic as well as research by the international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS show that tiger trade is not only an issue in Asia: The lucrative commercial trade with a highly protected species and their parts is happening right in the centre of Europe as well. On Monday 15th July the Czech police along with custom officers raided properties in Prague and in central and northern Bohemia in suspicion of illegal killing of tigers and possession of tiger products. Today on the 18th July the Czech authorities announced that they seized a recently killed tiger at one of the properties and that one of the suspects was processing tiger bones and other tiger products. The suspects were shooting the tigers in the eyes to not damage the skins and that the tigers were killed and used to make tiger broth. Furthermore, the Czech authorities also raided the Vietnamese market, Sapa in Prague and discovered tiger meat and products on sale.

One of the target facilities raided this week belonged to well-known circus leader, Mr. Ludvik Berousek. FOUR PAWS research conducted in June show a meeting with Mr. Berousek where he proudly showed his tiger breeding facility near Prague and discussed the sale of tigers to Asia. Mr Berousek offered to sell the tigers to Asian buyers and to help facilitate the documents and transfer and boasted that he had already sold tigers to China in the last three months. 

Kieran Harkin, Head of Wildlife Campaigns at FOUR PAWS, states “It is shocking how the EU does so much to combat the trade in wildlife in other parts of the world, but we have turned a blind eye to protecting an endangered species on our own doorstep. FOUR PAWS is calling on the European Commission to protect all tigers and to ban the commercial trade in live captive bred tigers. The EU should take a leading role in protecting these endangered species and ban all commercial trade ensuring tiger traders and businesses have no place in the EU”.

Tigers: A highly endangered species

In the 20th century the world already lost over 90 per cent of its tigers with current estimates indicating that there are only about 3,900 tigers left in the wild. The relentless demand for tigers to be displayed commercially and traded for their body parts to be used in traditional Asian medicines significantly contributes to this decline. Shockingly, tigers born in captivity in Europe can still be traded for commercial purposes such as circuses or for private keeping or for photo opportunities. In some European countries it is not only possible to buy tigers but to also rent tigers for private parties.

How can this happen in an EU-country?

The European Union does not only lack effective regulation concerning the trade of tigers or their parts, there is also no clear overview of the actual number of captive tigers and trade of these animals. No authority, organisation or country knows how many tigers are currently kept in Europe, where they are moved during their lifetime or how they are used for entertainment purposes, where they die and finally whether in worst cases these animals are being turned into tiger bone wine or traditional medicines. Only by ensuring there is no market for tigers and their parts in Europe the European Commission can be serious about contributing to protecting wild living tigers in Asia and playing a positive role in fighting the illegal trade of all wildlife. FOUR PAWS has launched a petition today through which all supporters can call on the European Commission to ban the commercial trade in tigers: https://help.four-paws.org/en/ban-tiger-trade

Read the update of 26.07.2018: https://goo.gl/ti5MVA​

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Share

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.

—-

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Share
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:

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Share

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

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Share

Animals should be better protected during disasters

croppedimage705324-IMG_4872

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.

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Share

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.

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Share

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/.

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Share

01.01.2018 – The Bulgarian Presidency (First Half 2018)

BU Precidency logo

The Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the EU, part of the Presidency Trio Programme  with Estonia and Austria, is taking over the Estonian Presidency for the first time ever and will run from 1 January until 30 June 2018.

Its slogan "United We Stand Strong” reflects its country history and the will to work towards a united and solidary Europe.

With the European elections scheduled for June 2019, Bulgaria will focus its program on the EU policy cycle, which is gradually coming to its end, based on four key areas: the future of Europe and young people, with a focus on economic growth and social cohesion; the European Perspective and Connectivity of the Western Balkans; Security and Stability and Digital Economy and Skills for the future. 

The Bulgarian Presidency will focus on three main principles:

–         Consensus with regards to sensitive political issues such as security, migration, justice, the future of the Western Balkans in the EU, and a sustainable integrated approach to the Danube and Black Sea regions;

–         Competitiveness with the aim to develop a more competitive single market;

–         Cohesion focusing on the future EU cohesion policy, the reformed Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), and the future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and cultural heritage.

As FOUR PAWS plays a major role in Bulgaria in the field of Animal Welfare, our European Policy Office wishes Bulgaria all the best for its Presidency and welcomes any future initiatives regarding Animal Welfare. Indeed, the country holds a significant position in terms of live transport, due to its geographical situation. Bulgaria has much to promote in Europe, in particular with its legislation on the keeping of wild animals. We hope that Bulgaria will use the Presidency to promote its best examples in Europe.

 

Read More on :

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Share

20.11.2017 – EU Online survey on ivory trade.

Elephants in Sandolani Game Ranch, 600 km far from Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe  Tuesday, 15 September 2009. Nine elephants captured from their natural enviroment in order to be used in turistical puposes (for riding), circuses or zoo's have been unchaind and are vabout to be set free by The VIER PFOTEN Animal Welfare Foundation and ZNSPCA (Zimbabwian National Society for Protect Cruelty to Animals). MIHAI VASILE / VIER PFOTEN

The EU Commission has launched an online survey to find out what EU citizens think about the ivory trade and the actions that the EU should take against ivory trafficking. The responses can be submitted until 8th December 2017. 

The numbers of African elephants are endangered by poaching and every year 20,000 animals are killed! The ivory trade, which is still going on across Europe, fuels this disaster. This survey is an opportunity to encourage the EU to take the strongest possible action to end the ivory trade and poaching.

Survey: https://goo.gl/J4tgE1

Help-Sheet: http://bit.ly/2hpczaL

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Share

Disappointment after the 2nd meeting of the EU Animal Welfare Platform

The European Animal Welfare Platform

The EU Commission should take animal welfare more seriously

13.11.2017 – Brussels. On Friday 10th November, the second meeting of the EU Animal Welfare Platform took place in Brussels. As announced during the last meeting, the EU Commission confirmed that two sub-groups will be created: one on transport should be finalised by the end of this year, and a second one on pig welfare should be established after the next Platform meeting in June 2018.

Many Member States and other stakeholders requested the establishment of more sub-groups, in order to tackle important animal welfare issues, in particular on illegal trade in dogs and cats, and on equine welfare. Sadly, the EU Commission made clear that it is not intentioned to establish other official working groups, and repeated that it is not intentioned to produce or amend EU legislation on animal welfare – even when it is much needed, as in the case of live animal transport.

Pierre Sultana, FOUR PAWS EU Director, “We welcome the idea to create sub-groups on transport and pigs to improve the enforcement of these pieces of EU legislation. However, we regret that the EU Commission is not willing to create some others, in particular regarding the issue of pet trade, ignoring once again the demands of EU citizens, confirmed by the last Eurobarometer on animal welfare”. Five Member States, who recently produced a joint proposal on pet trade, demanded the establishment of a subgroup on dogs and cat trade, and were supported by other Member States and stakeholders. This demand is in line with the aims of the CARO (“Companion Animal Responsible Ownership”) project, supported by the EU Commission itself.

FOUR PAWS also welcomes the highly needed discussion on equine welfare that took place in the afternoon session, in particular on the topic of population management. FOUR PAWS would however like to recall that the main reason why some horses are “unwanted” is because of some amateur – and unfortunately also professional – breeders, who are breeding many more horses than the market absorbs, thus generating dreadful consequences for such unfortunate animals. FOUR PAWS would therefore support the establishment of a sub-group on this topic, as requested by several Member States. It is indeed much needed that the EU Commission, Member States and other stakeholders work together in this direction. Pierre Sultana added: “The EU should make sure that any legislative change of animal welfare legislation is truly in favour of the animals, and not of detriment to them”.

Facing the repeated call to create more sub-groups, the EU Commission finally let a small door open for members of the Platform, , who will be able to organise informal sub-groups on other topics, and report back to other participants during the general meetings, in order to improve collaboration on specific topics.  “We would like to invite the EU Commission and the Platform to consider the call of the EU Member States and other stakeholders and to take courageous decisions where needed”.

 

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

Click here to access the minutes of the second meeting of the EU Platform on Animal Welfare.

Contact information:
VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS, European Policy Office
Avenue de la Renaissance 19/11, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Email: office@vier-pfoten.eu; communication@four-paws.eu                                         
Phone: 0032-2-7400888
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Share