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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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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18.01.2018 – Animal Welfare Intergroup meeting

The next Animal Welfare Intergroup meeting will take place on Thursday 18 January, from 9.30 to 11.00 hrs, in room LOW N 3.2, EP Strasbourg. The topic discussed will be on the set-up of the EP Committee of Inquiry on Animal Transport and the animal welfare related work programme of the Bulgarian Presidency (agenda).

Web-streaming: http://www.animalwelfareintergroup.eu/meetings/livestream/ 

 

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24.04.2018 – International Animal Welfare Summit 2018

International Animal Welfare Summit 2018

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

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18.12.2017 – Financial benefits of derogations from animal certification

On 18 December 2017, FOUR PAWS EU participated to the Animal Health Advisory Committee (AHAC), during which was discussed the financial benefit of derogations from animal certification (TRACES), based on an ongoing study, soon to be finalized.

The "Study on intra-European Union (intra-EU) animal health certification of certain live animals" is based on art 144 of AHL (the EU Commission has the possibility to adopt a delegated act, establishing derogations to TRACES certification for the movements of kept terrestrial animals, which does not constitute a significant risk regarding the spread of diseases).

The data gathered from 2009 to 2015, related to the intra-EU live animal movements, was obtained from TRACES, Eurostat and FAO, as well as from questionnaires sent to the Member States and to operators. The study analyzed the costs ensuing from the inspection done by the competent authorities and the costs that operators bear to comply with the legislation.

The study distinguishes the financial benefits for a derogation, between the transport movements of more than 8 hours and from the movements of less than 8 hours. The animals that are the least transported for more than 8 hours are the equidae and poultry, compared to sheep and bovines that are the most transported for more than 8 hours within the EU.

A derogation would constitute a benefit, decreasing direct costs for the competent authorities (75% of benefits), as well as for the operators (25% of benefits). For each consignment, the benefits range from 50 to 200€. The total direct benefits for all of the EU is estimated to be 22 Million euros per year. The biggest financial benefits from a derogation would impact the transport of pigs. The Netherlands and Germany would be the countries having the highest benefits from a derogation (35% of all the benefits). Then comes France, Ireland, Spain and Belgium (5%).

 

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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
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11.11.2017 – Improvement of Animal Welfare standards monitoring in UK Slaughterhouses

© VIER PFOTEN International Environment Secretary Michael Gove has confirmed that CCTV will be mandatory in all slaughterhouses in England early 2018 and will come into force next spring. Official vets, working for the Food Standards Agency, will have unrestricted access to the last 90 days of footage.  (Read more here).

This news comes a year after the French parliament voted to install mandatory video surveillance in slaughterhouses from 1 January 2018.

Read the full ‘Mandatory Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) recording in slaughterhouses: Summary of responses and Government response’

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No subsidies for animal transport cruelty outside of the EU

FOUR PAWS

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.

 

Continue reading No subsidies for animal transport cruelty outside of the EU

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04.10.2017 – EU Auditors to examine animal welfare measures

The European Court of Auditors will verify in five Member States (Germany, France, Italy, Poland and Romania), whether payments for animal welfare have been well used and effective. The audit will cover breeding, transport and slaughter.

The goal by 2020, is to go beyond the minimum requirements set at national and EU level.

The audit report is expected to be published end of 2018, before the European Parliament elections of 2019.

The press release is available here.

 

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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

  
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