Final vote of the Animal Health Law

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FOUR PAWS welcomes this new legislation as a first step to establish EU mandatory identification and registration of companion animals

Brussels, 08.03.2016. On 8th March 2016, the Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council on transmissible animal diseases and amending and repealing certain acts in the area of animal health (“Animal Health Law”) was voted in the European Parliament by a broad majority. The text initially introduced in 2013 by the European Commission, has undergone significant changes, and was massively commented for the absence of animal welfare provisions. In particular, FOUR PAWS initiated a campaign entitled “Wild? Me?” two years ago in order to change the critical definition contained in this legislation, which was aiming to consider domestic animals as wild animals when they have no owner or are abandoned.

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Final debate and vote on the Animal Health Law

On 7.03.2016 at 18h:00 the Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council on transmissible animal diseases and amending and repealing certain acts in the area of animal health, which was well-known as the Animal Health Law is moving to the next and last EU legislative step: the final debate and vote. 

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MEPs vote in favour for the introduction of mandatory identification and registration of dogs and cats in Europe

FOUR PAWS welcomes this important step towards greater traceability of companion animals in Europe

Today, by a clear majority, a Joint Motion for a Resolution on the introduction of compatible systems for the registration of pet animals across Member States has been voted by the EU Parliament, during its Brussels plenary session.

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Success for FOUR PAWS Wild? Me? Campaign: EU recognises that homeless cats and dogs are not wild

A major step forward for strays and companion animals in Europe has been reached within the last draft of the Animal Health Law

Brussels, 02.06.2015. Since the first draft of the Animal Health Law, the international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS has warned of the misuse of the term “wild” when referring to stray animals and the legal consequences. Monday evening, MEP Marit Paulsen (SW, ALDE), European Parliament’s rapporteur on the Animal Health Law, now renamed “European law on Transmissible Animal Diseases”, and EU Commissioner Andriukaitis presented the outcome of the agreement between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission. Even if the “wild” and “kept” definition will stay, a clause has been added, stating that stray animals are not wild animals, and that the critical definition of wild animals, as given by this description, will apply only to this law.

The new regulation will replace and encompass most of the present EU legislation on animal health. It distinguishes between those animals which are kept as pets and those which are stray without an owner kept, attributing homeless cats and dogs a lower level of legal protection than “kept” ones. It was feared that this could lead to legal grounds to kill strays. Now, by inserting the additional clause a compromise solution has been found and the draft explicitly distinguishing strays from the other non-kept animals.

Moreover, the draft includes other improvements for animal welfare: The very first article of the Animal Health Law implements a safeguard clause in cases of stray population management programs, stating not only that these programs have to be performed in a humane way avoiding pain and distress for the animals, but also that they have to be proportionate with the health risk. It is also now required that these programs have to be implemented in a transparent way and have to include stakeholder consultation.

The most progressive initiative implemented by this new law is the mandatory registration of all professional breeders and sellers of animals. “We welcome this initiative which will help to reduce irresponsible breeding, and in turn reduce overpopulation and abandonment of companion animals”, says Pierre Sultana, Director of FOUR PAWS European Policy Office.

Finally, the new law redefines some terms in the transposition of the Pet Passport Regulation to try to reduce the possibilities of the illegal puppy trade under the non-commercial movement scheme.

Despite these improvements, some problems are still unresolved. FOUR PAWS has concerns regarding the proper enforcement of some unclear terms and notions of the law, such as “humane treatment” of animals. “This agreed version of the Animal Health Law does not meet all FOUR PAWS expectations, but it is already a major step forward for strays and companion animals in Europe”, says Sultana. By increasing control and redefining responsibilities, this new law may limit Member States to adopt systematic culling programs of stray animals, which often take place without transparency and prior consultation with stakeholders and NGOs.

According to the Rapporteur, the final Parliamentary vote validating this compromise text should be a simple formality and should occur in November this year.

 

–> Please downlad here our press release: IPR_Wild Me Update_20150602_EN

–> Please find our "questions and answers" document to help you to understand this new legislation here: AHL questions & answers

–> Please find here the 2 position papers done by the office of MEP Paulsen on the animal welfare/health achievments in the new animal health law, and the achievments regarding stray animals:

​–> Please find here the official Press release of the EU Commission and a EU Commission's Q&A:

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01.06.2015 Brussels EU Press Conference on the Animal Health Law

On June 1st at 17:45 (CET), MEP Paulsen (Rapporteur of the Animal Health Law) and EU Commissioner Andriukaitis will inform the public about an informal deal that could be reached during the potentially final trialogue on the future European Law on Transmissible Animal Diseases (so-called Animal Health Law).

You can watch it live stream here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/other-events/video?event=20150601-1745-SPECIAL-UNKN

 

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Wild ? Me ? Campaign: FOUR PAWS starts an online protest

FOUR PAWS is protesting against the latest Animal Health Law, drafted by the European Commission, which plans to classify domestic animals that are not owned or kept by humans, such as stray dogs and cats, as wild animals, while at the same time not classifying owned animals such as lions and elephants in circuses or zoos, as wild.

Wild animals, presently hunted and shot all over Europe, have a lower level of protection than domestic and companion animals. Defining stray cats and dogs as wild animals could, in some situations, offer legal grounds for allowing hunters to shoot at them, as has already been proposed in the past in various European countries. Moreover, questioning the basic biological distinctions of the animals for practical reasons will lead to legal uncertainty, which could lead to animal welfare issues.

Please, help us fight this inappropriate definition!

Following a strong protest by FOUR PAWS, the European Parliament has voted against this definition. On February 5, this definition within the Animal Health Law will be discussed by the European Commission, the Council, representing the Member States and the European Parliament! There’s still a chance for us to prevent from this highly problematic definition.

SEND YOUR PROTEST EMAIL TO THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE EUROPEAN COUNTRIES AND HELP US GIVE ANIMALS A LOUD VOICE IN BRUSSELS!

Join the protest on https://help.four-paws.org/en/stray-animals-are-not-wild-animals

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Non-kept dogs and cats’ are NOT wild animals!

FOUR PAWS disapproves of European Commission’s plans to consider stray domestic animals as wild animals

Brussels, 05.12.2014. For the last three years, the European Commission has been drafting an Animal Health Law, which is supposed to replace and encompass most of the present EU legislation on animal health, striving for simplification and greater consistency under common principles and general rules.

Freecard Wild Me 150x100 12-14 RZ Banderole.inddInternational animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS, present in 7 EU countries in addition to an office in Brussels, welcomes these intentions, and has been happy to see that in the framework of the elaboration of the draft text Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have called for the identification and registration of all dogs in Europe. This would be a fundamental tool to prevent not only health risks for humans and animals, but also abandonment and illegal trade in puppies; therefore to protect dogs, and finally reduce canine overpopulation.

However, in the present draft of the Animal Health Law, an opposing trend has become apparent which might now even determine the decrease of protection: the proposal tabled by the European Commission wants to consider stray domestic animals as wild animals.

Marlene Wartenberg, Director of FOUR PAWS European Policy Office in Brussels regards these developments as concrete threat to animal welfare across the EU. “If this proposal was approved it would mean that stray and free-roaming animals would be granted a lower level of protection in the EU. In some situations, this could offer legal grounds for allowing hunters to shoot at them, as it has already been proposed in the past in various countries”.

Freecard Wild Me 150x100 12-14 RZ Banderole.inddThe proposal is presently being discussed in the last stage of the legislative process conducted through the Trialogue (which includes European Council, Commission and Parliament). Lamentably, last week in the European Parliament, Commission officials confirmed their intention to keep the text as it is, despite admitting that the definition of stray animals as ‘wild’ is confusing.

This decision would ignore the fundamental biological distinction between wild and domestic animals, and be taken against the basic principle of Article 13 of the EU Treaty (TFEU) that considers animals to be sentient beings, and requires new EU legislation to take their needs into account. Also, it would deliberately ignore the constant requests of EU citizens to increase the level of protection granted to all animals, not to decrease it.

This is happening without publicity, in the attempt to get this unacceptable definition passed without attracting criticism. FOUR PAWS has thus decided to give voice to EU citizens (and their animals) by organising an international protest that starts with a postcard campaign addressed to the EU Institutions and that EU citizens can share.

Freecard Wild Me 150x100 12-14 RZ Banderole.indd‘We are asking our representatives in Europe and the Commission to withdraw this unacceptable proposal, and focus on improving animal health and welfare instead’ – say Wartenberg,. ‘We have been working for responsible ownership of companion animals since 2010 through projects like CAROdog and – since 2013 – CAROcat. As this proposal can seriously undermine our work, we will now offer EU citizens the chance to tell directly to the European Commission what they expect them to do.

We hope that common sense will prevail over the fanciful idea of some officials.’.

Campaign materials are already available in various EU countries, and further actions will be announced soon.

 

Share the postcards

Please find here below the digital version of the postcards. Do not hesitate to send them to your responsible ministries (Health or Agriculture) and to the EU Institutions.

Freecard Wild Me 150×100 12-14 RZ WEB1 

Freecard Wild Me 150×100 12-14 RZ WEB2

Freecard Wild Me 150×100 12-14 RZ WEB3

Freecard Wild Me 150×100 12-14 RZ WEB4

Freecard Wild Me 150×100 12-14 RZ WEB5

Freecard Wild Me 150×100 12-14 RZ WEB6

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Vote on the Animal Health Law: FOUR PAWS welcomes marking steps towards more welfare for all companion animals including stray

FOUR PAWS welcomes marking steps towards more welfare for all companion animals including stray

On 15 April 2014, the European Parliament voted on the EU Commission's proposal for a new, comprehensive Animal Health Law. FOUR PAWS welcomes the result and especially the call of MEPs for the identification and registration of all dogs in Europe. Moreover, it is an important step that several animal health and welfare aspects concerning companion animals have been added to the proposal of the EU Commission.

Up to now, the Commission made a substantial difference between wild animals and kept animals. Due to the voting of the MEPs, stray animals will no longer fall under the scope of ‘wild animals’ but will be defined under a new category of ‘non-owned animals of domesticated species’. This is crucial not to let abandoned and non-owned animals fall under the category of wild animals, in order to avoid a massive eradication of them. Dogs must be considered as domestic animals, even if they are no longer under direct human control. “It is neither acceptable to create an arbitrary distinction in the definition of dogs, ignoring a classical biological categorisation of the animals, nor to create a ‘two-class system’ for dogs, depending if they have an owner or not.  This would also contradict the Treaty of Lisbon defining all animals as sentient beings.” says Dr. Marlene Wartenberg, Director of FOUR PAWS’ European Policy Office in Brussels. “Moreover, such an unclear and illogic distinction would lead to legal uncertainties when it comes to an application of the norm in the whole of Europe.”

Another great step for health prevention and animal welfare; the majority of MEPs also voted in favor of one amendment requiring Member States to establish for January 2018 a mandatory system of registration and identification of all dogs and presenting a respective report. In regards to this, by July 2019 the EU Commission will submit a report on the experience gained by Member States by establishing these databases and, on the basis of this report, present minimum standards for such a system of registration of dogs. 

 

Here, too, the obligation of private as well as public owners (e.g. public shelters) to identify and register companion animals as a basic principle of ‘responsible ownership’, which is supported by FOUR PAWS, was accepted. It would also create a ‘two-class system’ for dogs if this was only provided for animals being kept in a private household.

 

“The vote of the European Parliament marks a step towards a future system of traceability, an improvement of health for humans and animals, and animal welfare,” concludes Wartenberg. “The new obligation will strengthen the principles of a responsible ownership of animals and stand for a togetherness of humans and animals in Europe. We hope that, when the concluding negotiations of the European Parliament with the Member States in The Council and the Commission are finished, these two important achievements will be preserved.”

Please read more on http://lawyersforanimalprotection.eu/animal-health-law-european-parliament-agri-committee-asks-for-more-animal-welfare-and-for-registration-of-all-dogs/

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Animal Health Law: European Parliament AGRI Committee asks for more animal welfare and for registration of all dogs

Yesterday, the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) of the European Parliament has voted on the amendments to the proposal of the EU Commission for an Animal Health Law. Most of the suggested amendments have been presented by MEP Paulsen as rapporteur, and by MEP Jeggle as shadow Rapporteur. The ENVI and PECH Committees have also presented some amendments.

The amended text will be submitted to the plenary session in April 2014 and only after this vote the definitive version of the Animal Health Law will be adopted.

FOUR PAWS welcomes the result of yesterday's AGRI vote as there has been a clear demand from the Members of the European Parliament for more animal welfare in the Animal Health Law. Indeed, several animal welfare aspects have been added to the proposal of the EU Commission. 

Here are the main ones.

 

More control of the EU Parliament

The MEPs clearly expressed the need for more control on the emergency measures that the EU Commission can take without any consultation of stakeholders and the other EU institutions.

 

Stray Animals

Stray Animals are not falling under the scope of "wild animals". MEPs voted in favor of amendments requiring the creation of a new category: the non-owned animals of domesticated species. This is crucial not to let abandoned and not owned animals fall under the category of wild animals, in order to avoid a massive eradication of them, like it can be done with the so-called "invasive alien species". Dogs have to be considered as domestic animals, even if they are not anymore under humane direct control. It is not acceptable to create a two-class system for dogs, depending if they have an owner or not. 

 

Identification and Registration

For the first time at the EU Level, MEPs have voted in favor of one amendment requiring Member States to establish for January 2018 a mandatory system of registration of all dogs. There is no distinction between stray and owned dogs in the text. 

Moreover, until July 2019, the EU Commission will have to create a report on the experience gained by Member States by establishing these databases, and on the basis of this report, the EU Commission will have to make a proposal for the creation of a EU database for registration of dogs. 

This is a major step. Since 2010, the platform CAROdog (www.carodog.eu), threw its experts, is pleading in favor of the establishment of such a database. 


More information:

Official Press Release

Explanation on the voting proces of the Animal Health Law

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