VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS European Policy Office
VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS European Policy Office
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
Brussels, 16 March 2016
VIER PFOTEN/FOUR PAWS is glad that CAROdog and CAROcat projects have been mentioned as best examples
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.
Petition No.1071/2014 by Linda Mäki-Sulkava (Finnish) on breeding of unhealthy traits in animals (dogs)
Summary of petition: The petition draws attention to the fact that while there are laws on animal welfare and diseases, these laws relate to production animals, not pets. The petitioner states that unhealthy traits are generally accepted in cats and dogs, when the same traits are considered a developmental handicap in production animals. The petition cites dog breeding which has given rise to short noses, excessive hanging skin, and distortion of structural proportions, such as over-heavy bones. She lists many dog breeds which have precisely these unhealthy afflictions. The petition proposes that the laws on animal welfare be revised.
Petition No 0049/2015 by S. de R. (Dutch), on the compulsory vaccination of puppies
The petitioner complains about the rules for vaccinating puppies against rabies which have been in place since 29 December 2014. According to these rules, puppies cannot travel or be imported or exported for 21 days after they have been vaccinated against rabies. For pedigree puppies, this means that they have to stay with the breeder for 15 weeks. According to the petitioner, this is detrimental to puppies that have been sold abroad, since they thus miss out on the most important phase of their rearing – between the eighth and twelfth week (the primary socialisation period) – with their new owner. As soon as the puppies are allowed to travel to their new family (16th week), they are already in the second phase (secondary socialisation period). According to the petitioner, the new rules lead to behavioural problems in dogs, meaning that there will be less import and export of pedigree dogs and more inbreeding of pedigree dogs. She understands that the rules are there to provide better protection for puppies and better supervision of breeding establishments, but she expects that breeders will forge the dates on the pet passports. The petitioner claims that the EU does not take into account the breeding system used by pedigree dog breeders, or their breeder’s certificates and DNA record. Pedigree dog breeders have been struggling to gain this recognition for years. She states that a breeder’s certificate or DNA record containing all of the data relating to a puppy is a reliable system. The petitioner will continue to argue for pedigree puppies to be able to be imported and exported at 8 weeks.
Green Party in Northern Ireland urged publicly-funded universities and medical schools in Northern Ireland to halt testing animals – especially when only 3% of experiments carried on them have been really required by regulators. As Cruelty Free International investigated – approximately 20 000 animal experiments have dubious scientific values for humans. Additionally, the number of laboratory tests on dogs was dramatically increased by up 113%. Moreover, Steven Agnew from Green Party in Northern Ireland urged the universities to invest in alternative testing instead of animal one. The official statement of the spokesperson of Queen’s University was “Queen’s conduct research on animals only when it is absolutely essential for clinical, biomedical and environmental studies and where there are no alternatives”. Unfortunately, a dilemma of suffering animals is still remaining unsolved. However, the European Citizen Initiative (ECI) unveiled a negative sentiment of Europeans regarding animal testing. The ECI clearly stated that Europeans want policy makers to phase out animal testing. In Northern Ireland in 2014 and 2015 about 1 000 animals are intentionally subjected to experiments estimated as causing severe suffering and next 5 513 animals to moderate suffering.
Next year, at 150km from Bei Jing in China, a giant "cloning farm" will be created, aiming to clone domestic animals including farm animals such as cows, but also police dogs and race horses. The goal would be to produce more than 1 million of cloned cows, to solve the problem of lack of farmlands in China.
Cloning is currently prohibited in Europe, but despite the EU Parliament willing to stop imports of food product coming from cloned animals, it is still allowed for Member States to import such products after getting an authorisation. But EU legislation might change soon.
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).
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
Dr. 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!
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.
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”.
MEP 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
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
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.
VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS, European Policy Office
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