​International experts propose a roadmap to the EU Commission on improving the welfare of dogs and cats in the EU.

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VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS European Policy Office

PRESS RELEASE

Brussels, 23.06.2016

​International experts propose a roadmap to the EU Commission on improving the welfare of dogs and cats in the EU.

“Identification, vaccination and movement of dogs and cats in the EU: How to improve the Pet Passport and TRACES systems?” conference 

Continue reading ​International experts propose a roadmap to the EU Commission on improving the welfare of dogs and cats in the EU.

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21-22.06, Brussels, Conference on Identification, vaccination and movement of dogs and cats in the EU

Identification, vaccination and movement of dogs and cats in the EU​. How to improve the Pet Passport and TRACES systems?

The CEO of VIER PFOTEN Helmut Dungler and the Representation of the State of Hesse are glad to inform you that the conference on “Identification, vaccination and movement of dogs and cats in the EU: How to improve the Pet Passport and TRACES systems?” will take place at the Representation of the State of Hessen to the EU, Rue Montoyer 21, B-1000 Brussels  on June 21st and 22nd 2016. Continue reading 21-22.06, Brussels, Conference on Identification, vaccination and movement of dogs and cats in the EU

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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.

Continue reading Final vote of the Animal Health Law

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2nd EU Conference on the welfare of dogs and cats involved in commercial practices

VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS was partner of this conference organized by the Representation of the German State of Baden-Württemberg together with TASSO and Eurogroup for Animals. FOUR PAWS enjoyed the event to launch the first edition of the newly born companion animals’ responsible ownership magazine: CAROmag (1).

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On 12th November 2015 was held the EU second conference the welfare of dogs and cats in Europe. Whereas the first one held in November 2013 focused on the welfare of all dogs and cats (2), this new conference targeted the welfare implications related to the commercial breeding and trade of dogs and cats in Europe.

It was attended by more than 120 participants from EU institutions, national ministries, permanent representations to the EU, veterinary services, breeder associations and NGOs.

The Head of the Animal Welfare Unit from the DG SANTE of the European Commission, Dr. Andrea Gavinelli, presented the first outcomes of the EU study on dogs and cats conducted in 12 EU member states last year (3). The study highlighted dogs and cats trade represents an annual revenue estimated at 1.3 billion euros. In particular, the import of dogs is estimated at approximately 21 million euros (2014) and cats at 3 million euros (2014). The most surprising fact is that only 13% of purchased companion animals come from professional breeders. Dr Gavinelli emphasized that several European countries, such as Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary or Spain even have no legal definition of breeder.

All the speakers have underlined the lack of traceability of dogs and cats in the EU, resulting in irresponsible commercial practices and animal suffering, especially with the booming of the online trade of companion animals. The EU Commission itself recognized that there was inconsistency in the data registered in the TRACES system related to dog and cat movement, proving the fraud and the black market in this area.

Identification and Registration of all dogs and cats were pointed out by most of the speakers as the only sustainable solution to put an end to the companion animal suffering exposed during this conference by both animal welfare organisations and veterinary services. MEP Janusz Wojciechowski also suggested to subsidise the protection of dogs and cats, which would only require about 0.01% of the total EU budget. He also suggested to promote the adoption of dogs as well as to introduce mandatory sterilization of companion animals in order to minimize the problem of stray animals and the dissemination of zoonoses.

The conclusion of this conference were hold by a representant of the future Dutch presidency of the EU who estimated that in order to protect companion animals better, the EU Commission, the EU Parliament, the stakeholders, the NGOs, the EU Member States and the animal welfare organizations need to work together.

Since 2010, VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS is calling for a EU mandatory identification and registration of all dogs and cats in Europe through compatible databases to reach the goal of responsible ownership, in line with Art. 13 TFEU. In particular, VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS, together with the EU Commission, the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe, the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell'Abruzzo e del Molise "Giuseppe Caporale" and the Advisory Board on Cat Diseases has established the CAROdog (www.carodog.eu) and CAROcat (www.carocat.eu) projects, as well as an EU Canine and Feline Traceability Experts Group in order to demonstrate the feasibility and necessity of a EU-wide identification and registration system in the frame of EU competences and stakeholders’ interests. Moreover, VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS has already exposed all the suffering resulting from unscrupulous breeding and trade of animals within several video investigation, mainly lead in Eastern European Countries (4). The organization has also raised awareness in 2014 on the online trade of dogs and cats through collaboration with Ebay classified ads Germany and the establishment of the website www.stoppuppytraders.org.

(1) Please find here the CAROmag in PDF format.

(2) FOUR PAWS was also partner of this very first EU Conference on dogs and cats entitled ““Building a Europe that cares for companion animals” (28.10.2013). See http://www.vier-pfoten.eu/conferences/2013/2013-conference-on-the-welfare-of-dogs-and-cats/

(3) The full results should be officially published by the EU Commission before the end of the year

(4) See the Illegal Puppy Trade Report of 2014 here http://www.vier-pfoten.eu/files/EPO/Materials_conf/Puppy_Trade_in_Europe/REPORT_EUROPEAN_PUPPY_TRADE.pdf

Summary of the event

20151112_163243 1Dr. Andrea Gavinelli (Head of the Animal Welfare Unit from DG Sante, European Commission) presented the outcomes of the EU study conducted in 12 EU member states last year. He highlighted that “in the EU there are 60.8 million dogs and 66.5 million cats, with an annual revenue estimated at 1.3 billion euros. The import of dogs is estimated at approximately 21 million euros (2014) and cats at 3 million euros (2014)”. The most surprising  fact is that only 13% of purchased pets come from professional breeders! But how can we manage to solve this increasing problem when there are still several European countries, such as: Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary or Spain, that haven't specified the legal definition of a professional breeder?!

Dr Claudia Veith (Delegate Representative of the Veterinarian Chamber of Baden-Württemberg) recognised that the 

non-professional breeders are only generating a profit from selling dogs and cats and they  follow the rule to “produce as many litters as possible and to even breed dogs with genetic diseases”. As a result, dogs suffer from chronic illnesses, which require costly medical treatments!

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Sophie Duthoit, the EU Legal Research Officer at VIER PFOTEN’s European Policy Office in Brussels, contrasted the large difference in profit-making of the trade of dogs and cats between professional and non-professional breeders. According to data from France, professional breeders spend about 762 euros per puppy, whereas non-professionals spend less than 260 euros, which means that he or she could sell the puppy for much less (about 361 euros instead of 1662 euros). The greatest difference in cost stems from providing medical treatment (vaccination, basic care, qualify food) and fulfilling legal practices (registration and identification, pet passport, breeding certificate and taxes), not to mention breeding costs. For example, in France, the government loses a tremendous amount of income due to the illegal trade of  companion animals, estimated at 312 million euros annually.

20151112_123904 1Eric van Tilburgh (Head of the Animal Welfare Division of the Flemish Government) noted that Belgium has banned the sale of imported dogs/ cats as well as the online listing of  authorised breeders.

Reineke Hameleers (Director of Eurogroup for Animals) said that, “In Europe, there is a serious lack of traceability implementation of  responsible commercial practices as well as responsible ownership”.

 

received_10207428922176697MEP Janusz Wojciechowski suggested to subsidise the protection of dogs and cats, which would only require  about 0.01% of the total EU budget. He pointed out that “There are no special regulations for dogs and cats and no legal basis for intervening in this matter”. Some of the possible solutions are to promote the adoption of dogs as well as introduce the sterilization of companion animals in order to minimise the problem of  stray animals and the dissemination of zoonoses diseases.

Dr Felix Wildschutz (Council Presidency of Luxembourg) highlighted that there is not a mandatory identification and registration of dogs and cats or an official certificate and trace notification in Luxembourg. He mentioned “the need of the competent authority to inform the competent authority of the country of dispatch about the non-compliance detected”.

The conclusion of the day

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Dr. Jouke Knol (Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the EU) had heard „about the good and bad practices concerning animal welfare, but the conclusion is that many of us cope with the same problems, and generally people care about pets, but in order to protect companion animals we need to work together: the European Commission, the European Parliament, the stakeholders, the NGOs, the EU member states and the animal welfare organizations. We should exchange ideas about the best trading practices and encourage responsible breeding”.

 

Agenda of the Event

Agenda


About VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS

VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS is an Austrian-based international animal welfare organisation with offices in ten European countries, South Africa, the USA and Australia. FOUR PAWS was founded in 1988 in Austria, and in 2003 the organisation became FOUR PAWS International. Since 2007, FOUR PAWS has had a European Policy Office in Brussels which aims to strengthen animal welfare at the European level by influencing European policies and the legal framework. With the aim of consolidating the consideration of companion animals and the responsible ownership principle in EU policies, in 2010 the office created the CAROdog platform (“Companion Animal Responsible Ownership”), followed in 2013 by the CAROcat platform, and has established the EU Traceability Experts Group. With its European Policy Office, VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS has a long standing experience in consultancy on Animal Welfare in Brussels. The main goal is to improve the consideration and the protection of farm animals, wild animals and companion animals at EU level to reach at least responsible ownership through better legislation, but also better enforcement.


Contact information:

VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS, European Policy Office

Av. de la Renaissance 19/11, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

Email: office@vier-pfoten.eucommunication@four-paws.eu

Phone: 0032-2-7400888

Websites:  www.vier-pfoten.euwww.carodog.euwww.carocat.euwww.lawyersforanimalprotection.eu

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12.11.15 Brussels Conference “Welfare of dogs and cats involved in commercial practices”

Title: Welfare of dogs and cats involved in commercial practices

Date:Thursday, 12 November 2015 from 09h00 – 17h45

Location:Representation of the State of Baden-Württemberg to the European Union, Rue Belliard 60-62, 1040 Brussels

Registration: via e-mail under veranstaltung@bruessel.bwl.de

AgendaAgenda of the Conference

Continue reading 12.11.15 Brussels Conference “Welfare of dogs and cats involved in commercial practices”

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France : A new law to limit private breeding of dogs and cats and Internet trade of these animals

On 7 October 2015, a French ordinance “related to the trade and protection of companion animals” has been published. It aims to limit the uncontrolled private/non-professional breeding of dogs and cats and the resulting trade, most of the time done through online classified ads.

Up to now, the French law provided that private people were allowed to breed dogs and cats without respecting any requirements or paying any tax, as long as they do not sell more than two litters a year. In practice, enforcement of this law proved to be impossible[1], resulting in unfair competition to license/ professional breeders and uncontrolled online market. Therefore the new law aims to revaluate the status of breeder and make the dog and cat market more secure and controllable. With the new law, up from 2016, anybody who wants to sell one dog or cat will have to be declared at the Tax Services, and get a unique tax number (called SIREN). This number will have to be written in all classified ads for selling dogs and cats and online platforms will have to create checking systems to check the validity of the SIREN number. Moreover, potential buyers will be able to check themselves the validity of this tax number and will have access to the data of the seller (like his complete name and his postal adress)[2]. This is an encouraging first step for a better traceability of the online sellers and therefore for better protection of the buyers.

In addition, the ordinance also sets some new requirements aiming to improve the welfare of companion animals involved in commercial practices. Among others, there will be stricter requirements regarding the training of dog breeders or shelter staff. Before that, only the sale of dogs and cats of less than 8 weeks were prohibited. Now it also applies to free-gift of dogs and cats. Moreover, in case of free-gift of the animals, the ad will have to precise explicitely that no monney will be asked, in order to avoid SCAMs.

Another good progress for animal welfare brought by this law concerns confiscation of abused animals. Now, the Courts have to decide during a trial for mistreatment if the animal will be given to a charity. Up to now, it was necessary to make a second legal complaint after the condemnation of the owner to take the animals away and give them to a charity.

Finally, the ordinance also aims to protect companion animals other than dogs and cats. The trade of these animals in non-specialised markets and fairs will be prohibited as well as the “self-service” trade of these animals.

A big step forward has been probably reached with this new Law. Force private individuals to be declared to the tax authorities will probably limit the temptation to breed and sell animals, which was done until now in an unresponsible way. However, enforcement might stay complex as it is easy to use the SIREN number of somebody else. 

Limit private breeding and consequently online trade of animals is a major concern in Europe. As an example, Belgium has adopted last year stricter rules regarding private breeding of cats, making mandatory sterilization of any cat sold or given for free.

The provisions of the French ordinance will get into force on January 1 2016.

 

 


[1] It appeared that it is impossible to check how much litters private people are selling as the trade happens often privately via classified ads

 

[2] A small derogation is planned only for non professional breeders selling animals registered in the French Book of Origins (called LOF). These sellers will not need a SIREN number when they sell less than 1 litter a year but they will have to register each of the animals produced in the book of origin, even the ones not fitting with the breed standards

 

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New campaign of Eurogroup for Animals: 'Protect our Pets'

9 September 2015

Eurogroup for Animals has launched a major new campaign to improve the welfare of Europe’s cats and dogs. The Protect Our Pets campaign tackles the growing, underground and illegal pet trade in Europe once and for all.

Today pets are being traded illegally within Europe. This illegal trade severely impacts upon the health and welfare of the animals involved. Many are born in inhumane circumstances, are poorly socialised, transported great distances, and all too often at great risk contracting diseases. Unsuspecting owners buy these pets, often on-line, and are regularly left heartbroken when things go wrong. This needs to stop!

The campaign uses multi-media tools and social network channels to spread the message and the Protect Our Pets campaign urges members of the public to call for pets across Europe to be properly identified and registered, and therefore linked to an owner.  A dedicated website has also been set up www.protectourpets.eu to facilitate members of the public contacting their MEPs and calling for action now>

“We want to make the invisible, visible. We want to close the loopholes that allow this trade to flourish, and to ensure that dogs, cats and other pets are protected, both from the trade itself, and from the serious disease and behavioural risks that threaten the health and welfare of all animals and owners alike,” stated Reineke Hameleers, Director of Eurogroup for Animals.

To achieve this Eurogroup for Animals is working actively with the European parliament and in particular Renate Sommer MEP who pushed forward an initiative for a Motion for a Resolution asking the European Commission to mandate the introduction of harmonised national systems for the identification and registration of pets in each Member State, based on the system which has been adopted for equines.

The campaign also calls on members of the public to urge their elected MEPs to write to Commissioner Andriukaitis, the Commissioner in charge of Animal welfare calling for the harmonisation of identification and registration requirements for pets across the EU.

"It is increasingly clear that as long as we have a patchwork of systems for pet identification and registration, the illegal trade in pets will flourish in Europe. We need effective ways to trace ownership cross border, and this requires harmonisation of identification and registration requirements at national level,” stated Renate Sommer MEP.

"It is time for pets – dogs, cats, and exotic pets too – to be recognised as legitimate animal and public health concerns. The European Commission has a clear role to play in the prevention and management of veterinary public health issues. That's why I am determined to see that the European Parliament as a whole adopts a Resolution, calling for the Commission to use its powers in this area. It's time to ensure that Europe's pets are properly protected," she concluded.

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Spain: increasment of number of pets abandonned

In a recent written question, the Spanish MEP Marina Albiol Guzmán alerted the EU Commission on the increasment of pets abandonment in Spain. In 2014, at least 200 000 cats and dogs have been abandonned.

Question for written answer E-006505/2015 to the Commission Rule 130 Marina Albiol Guzmán (GUE/NGL)

Subject: Dramatic number of abandoned pets in Spain

Animal protection organisations have counted many thousands of cases in Spain of pets being abandoned. They calculate that at least 200 000 were abandoned last year. Furthermore, this shocking figure represents an additional problem for the public administration authorities, which have to spend resources on rescuing these animals and rehabilitating them. In this regard a citizens’ initiative has gathered over 280 000 signatures to date calling for substantial changes to the applicable regulations.      

1.    Does the Commission propose to implement any strategy regarding the well-being of pets?             

2.    Does the Commission intend to draw up a Directive to support the fight against the ill-treatment and abandonment of pets?

 

Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission

In the context of the EU animal welfare strategy 2012-2015 (1) the Commission commissioned a study on cats and dogs involved in commercial practices. The results are still under evaluation and will be properly considered by the Commission within the limits of its mandate.

  1.   COM(2012) 6 final
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