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.
The 1st International Animal Welfare Summit will take place on April 24th 2018, at Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna.
The IAWS will welcome renowned national and international experts in animal welfare and research, along with representatives from the political and commercial arenas, civil society initiatives and NGOs.
For more details and registration (from mid-October) visit www.iaws2018.com
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.
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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.
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.
FOUR PAWS welcomes the judgement of the European Court of Justice that could affect 170 million live animals transported per year
Brussels, 19 October 2017, The European Court of Justice confirmed that European animal welfare regulation on live animal transport apply to the entire journey, including outside the European Union. In order to get export refunds on livestock, exporters are required to follow Regulation No 1/2005, guaranteeing the protection of animals during transport and to minimize suffering and cruelty, until the first place of unloading in the third country of final destination. The court ruling was linked to an excruciating journey of animals from the Netherlands to Beirut and is not the first time the European Court issues a ruling which calls for implementation of European law for live animal transport for animals sent beyond European borders.
“FOUR PAWS welcomes today’s Court decision, improving the welfare of millions of animals exported outside EU borders every year during their transport. This gives full effect to the previous case and it is absolutely normal that, in return for a reimbursement, the exporters should guarantee the highest welfare to the animals during their transport,” says Pierre SULTANA, Director of the European Policy Office of FOUR PAWS in Brussels.
The livestock export company did not complete the journey log for the 13 days of transport to Beirut of 36 live bovines, of which 5 died. The journey log was only completed until the exit point of the EU. Nevertheless, the veterinarian in Beirut stated that the welfare of the bovines was good and the transport was carried out according to European rules for animal welfare during transport.
Because of the incomplete journey log, the Dutch competent authority rejected the veterinarian’s statement and requested the reimbursement of the export refund with an additional 10% penalty.
The court was asked whether the transporter must keep the journey log up to date until the first place of unloading in the third country of final destination or whether it is sufficient that the journey log be handed over to the official veterinarian at the exit point of the Union. Without having access to such, a veterinarian in the third country cannot attest that the route plan records are in compliance with European rules on animal transport and export refunds. The route plan records hold information on the duration of the journey and the resting times of the animals. The judgement states that the original journey log has to be completed until the exit point of the EU. A copy of the journey log has to be kept and completed until the first unloading point of the country of final destination. The Court based its decision on the effectiveness of animal welfare.
“Once again, the serious inconsistencies of regulation No 1/2005 have been pointed out and we hope that the EU Commission will finally consider a revision, as required by the “stop the trucks” campaign”, as quoted by Pierre SULTANA.
The Italian Supreme Court sentences a restaurant to a 5,000EUR fine for keeping lobster on ice. The high court confirms that crustaceans are sentient beings capable of experiencing pain if they are mistreated.
The Italian Supreme Court states that lobster feel pain if they are kept on ice before being taken to a kitchen, particularly if their claws are tied. Those that follow this practice are considered to be mistreating the animal, as per Article 727 of the Italian criminal code. Because of this, the Supreme Court sanctioned the Campi Bisenzio restaurant in Florence to a 5,000EUR fine, in addition to paying compensation damages to the LAV (Antivivisection League).
The high court maintains that it is one thing to cook the animals when they are still alive, something that constitutes a “habitual social practice”, however it is another to keep them in a way that causes “suffering from being kept on ice and tied up” before being cooked […]. The owner of the restaurant defended himself by explaining that the crustaceans arrived from America in boxes of ice with their claws tied, and he therefore provided the same conditions until they were cooked. The Supreme Court stated that this claim was inadmissible due to various pieces of research in recent years, which have resulted in a part of the scientific community taking the view that these animals are capable of experiencing pain as sentient beings. The Supreme Court proposes alternative methods of keeping lobster before they are cooked, such as aquariums with an adequate temperature and level of oxygen, a system that is used in both supermarkets and by leading restaurants.
In short, from this point forward, many Italian restaurants will have stop using methods which preserve lobster and other crustaceans on ice, because this causes the animals to suffer.
FOUR PAWS is looking forward to exchange of shared best practices and the work to come, but reminds the EU Commission that they should take action too.
Brussels 06.06.2017 – The international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS welcomes the first meeting of the EU Platform on Animal Welfare, which gathered 75 representatives from NGOs, farmers’ organisations, scientists, EU Member States and other European countries (Switzerland, Iceland), international organisations such as FAO, OIE, and World Bank, and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
During this first meeting, the participants were offered the opportunity to discuss relevant areas of work of common interest, and to propose priorities for the work of the Platform. The aim was to share information and experience on better implementation of EU animal welfare legislation, the promotion of EU animal welfare standards globally, and the promotion on the market of animal welfare friendly products. The participants have emphasised the need for new legislation, especially for species that are not covered by existing EU law yet, despite the Commission being reluctance to work on legislation.
Pierre SULTANA, Director of the European Policy Office of FOUR PAWS, underlines that “the platform should not substitute the work of the Commission regarding the parts of animal welfare legislation, which need to be either revised or introduced. It is necessary to deal with existing problems hindering progress, such as issues related to cruel practices, such as the killing of day-old chicks and non-therapeutic mutilations and to companion animals.”
Adolfo SANSOLINI, FOUR PAWS’ Expert in the Platform explains that “common EU values and animal welfare issues bring together Europeans, therefore concrete actions are necessary. FOUR PAWS values the cooperation with the Commission and other stakeholders, in order to improve the way animals are treated in Europe and beyond. In particular, FOUR PAWS is in favour of the creation of sub-groups in order to get something out of this work. We will make everything in our power to make it happen”.
The EU Commission will prioritise, map out and analyse the list of topics, to reach concrete and measurable results. The next meeting is scheduled for November 10th 2017.
To review the web stream of the meeting: https://webcast.ec.europa.eu/inaugural-meeting-of-the-platform-on-animal-welfare
Click here to access the minutes of the meeting of the EU Platform on Animal Welfare.
EU Platform on Animal Welfare https://ec.europa.eu/food/animals/welfare/eu-platform-animal-welfare_en
More information on the platform: http://www.lawyersforanimalprotection.eu/enforcement-support/the-eu-platform-on-animal-welfare/
FOUR PAWS welcomes the adoption of the recommendation.
Brussels, 03.05.2017 – The International animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS is pleased with the adoption by the Benelux Interparliamentary Assembly of the recommendation that was drafted by Ms Sabine Vermeulen, member of the Benelux Parliament, introducing measures to tackle the unscrupulous practices of puppy trade. The recommendation which will be published soon considers several problems, such as the need to enforce the tractability of dogs and cross-border cooperation.
FOUR PAWS closely followed the elaboration of the recommendation. Pierre SULTANA, Director of the European Policy Office of FOUR PAWS in Brussels, expressed his satisfaction regarding the vote and explains that: “our organization has been actively involved in the fight against illegal pet trade in particular online, through our Pet Deception campaign, launched in June 2016. To guarantee that animal welfare standards are met and that future owners are protected, not only it is essential to regulate this sector secure the sale of dogs, but also raise awareness and inform people about the risks and sometimes dirty business behind the online trade”.
Pierre SULTANA also explains that “although many existing legislations are very good in the Benelux, these countries represent are still a transit point for illegal and unscrupulous puppy trade, that is most often a cross-border issue. It is important to to favour cooperation between countries. Establishing a central system such as EUROPETNET, helps to identify and register dogs and their Transponders’ numbers. The transformation of the European passport into a unique document for each animal, from the date of birth and death would also help tackle the illegal trade of animals.
The Recommendation can be read here: BNL885-1
On February 15 2017, the European Commission sent a reasoned opinion (second step of the infringement process) to Italy for not having transposed properly the EU Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes (Directive 2010/63/EU). Already in April 2016, a letter of formal notice was sent to Italy by the EU Commission. If the Italian authorities fail to act within two months, the case may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.
This Directive, which should have been enacted into national law by 10 November 2012, ensures a high level of animal welfare while safeguarding the proper functioning of the internal market. It also aims to minimise the number of animals used in experiments and requires alternatives to be used where possible. Italy had enacted the Directive in March 2014; however, a number of points of non-conformity need to be addressed. On certain aspects, the Italian law remains below the animal welfare standards set out by the Directive, while Italy invokes its allegedly higher standards on other issues, which can disturb the proper functioning of the internal market.