Second Eurobarometer on Animal Welfare


FOUR PAWS urges the Commission to listen to the European citizens concerns on Animal Welfare

A new Eurobarometer[1] on the Attitudes of EU citizens towards Animal Welfare (Eurobarometer 442) has been published by the EU Commission. This is the second special EU survey on this matter of particular importance for the European citizens since March 2007. The main goal of the Eurobarometer is to assess among European citizens how much Animal Welfare matters in their daily life. 

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The EU Commission published Action Plan 2016-2020 on Wildlife Trafficking

The Action Plan 2016-2020 against Wildlife Trafficking has been published by the EU Commission on Friday 26 February 2016It is the result of joint work of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, Federica Mogherini, and Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, with some support from the Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica and the Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos. The Action Plan is a response to the growing European problem regarding Wildlife Trafficking, which requires taking actions immediately in order to combat the illicit wildlife trade.

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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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The Council supports the idea of creating an EU Animal Welfare Platform

FOUR PAWS welcomes the European Council’s support to the idea of creating an EU Animal Welfare Platform

During its Council Agriculture and Fisheries session held on 15th February 2016, the European Council has welcomed the idea to create an EU animal welfare platform, suggested by the German, Swedish, Danish and Dutch delegations.

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The EU Commission published its plans on global trade

The European Commission published a communication “Trade for all. Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy”, which presented the ongoing EU activities regarding trade globally. The communication is just a political document without any binding legal value. The main objectives of the European Commission regarding a responsible trade and investment policy included: gaining international markets, facilitating digital trade, promoting the EU’s best practices and standards internationally, eliminating non-tariff barriers and corruption. Additionally, the EU Commission is currently negotiating trade agreements with non-EU countries in order to have a more transparent trade policy based on the respect the environment, human rights and consumers protection.

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Eurobarometer 440

The special Eurobarometer 440 concerning Europeans, Agriculture, and the CAP (the Common Agricultural Policy) has already been published by the EU Commission, Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development and co-ordinated by the Directorate-General for Communication.

One of the main objectives was to check the awareness of the EU citizens of agricultural issues, such as: the main responsibilities and the role of farmers in the society, the assessment of the EU financial aid provided to farmers, the recognition of quality labels, the benefits provided by the forests – just briefly mentioned about the most prominent areas of the EU survey, which were copied with the animal welfare standards and best practices.

According to the report of the Eurobarometer 440, the animal welfare has become one of the key fundamental issues and best practices among the farmers, which is being currently meticulously scrutinized and assessed by the EU citizens. What is definitely good news for the all farmed animal lovers is the fact that “ensuring the welfare of farmed animals is the leading responsibility in six Member States with more than half of respondents in most of these countries considering this to be the main responsibility of farmers in their society”. When it comes to the specific results of the survey, it is relevant to pinpoint that the more farm animal welfare supporters are from Sweden (58% of respondents), the Netherlands (56% of respondents), and Luxembourg (56% of respondents), whereas the Bulgarians (9% of respondents) and Latvians (12% of respondents) are definitely opponents on this aforementioned issue. In the report of the Eurobarometer 440 has also been specified that the welfare of farmed animals has increased in the EU Members States with 8% in the comparison with the last survey, which were conducted in November 2013.

Currently, the animal welfare is being considered as the second most vital responsibilities of farmers in our society by 35% of respondents (just after a reply: supplying the population with a diversity of quality products, which was pointed out by 42% of respondents) and it is worth highlighting that this answer was ranked fourth in the last survey from 2013. What is even more surprising, the largest increase has been noticed in Luxembourg (+24%) as well as Malta (+18%), Portugal (+17%), France (+14%), Romania (+11%).  

Another key question has been concerned a matter of the justified reduction of the farmers’ EU subsidies if they are not complying with rules for the environment, food safety and animal welfare. According to the respondents’ opinion, it is absolutely justified to reduce farmers’ EU donations if they do not respect the animal welfare rules (87% of respondents). Italy (78% of respondents) and Romania (74% of respondents) are the only exceptions of the EU countries, which were against this EU policy. The most avid supporters of the animal welfare standards are from Sweden (88% of respondents), Denmark (79% of respondents), the Netherlands (77% of respondents). It has also been revealed that “the largest increases in respondents who are of the view it is justified to reduce subsidies if farmers do not respect  the rules are observed in Bulgaria – animal welfare standards (80%, +13pp) and in Ireland (89%, +11pp). In Belgium, the level of support for the EU to reduce payments for non-compliance is very high, almost it has declined since 2007 (87%, -7pp)” . 

When it comes to the socio demographic analysis, women were more about ensuring the welfare of farmed animals (38% of respondents) than men (31% of respondents). Moreover, the younger people (15-24 years old) were also more animal supporters (39% of respondents) than older people, who are aged 55 or over, (32% of respondents).

VIER PFOTEN encourages you to read more about our own private label on some meat products "Tierschutz-kontrolliert". You can find an article written in German here:

Read the whole report and summary of the Eurobarometer 440 here:




Trade in Seals product

Please find here the EP Resolution and consolidated text voted in plenary on September 8th 2015:


Original legislative proposal of the EU Commission


Rapporteur:  BUŞOI Cristian-Silviu (IMCO)

Shadow rapporteur:  SCHALDEMOSE Christel, DALTON Daniel, TØRNÆS Ulla, ŠOLTES Igor and ZULLO Marco


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

Report on 2014 infringements of EU legislation

Today, the EU Commission has published its report for 2014 on the infringement of EU legislation. 

It shows that number of infringement procedures opened has decreased. Greece and Italy are on the top for infringement, followed by Spain, Belgium, Poland and France. The lowest number of infringement is in Croatia, Estonia and Malta.

The main domain concerned by infringement is Environment.



Read the full report on


Scandal in France after the introduction of a GMO lamb in the food chain

France is facing a new alimentary scandal after a genetically modified lamb finished in the food supply chain. The information was released yesterday by the French Newspaper “Le Parisien”.

In the framework of a medical research program carried out by the Institut National de Recherche Agronomique (INRA) a ewe was genetically modified with the « green fluorescent protein » of jellyfish, which gave her a transparent and fluorescent skin colour. This ewe gave birth to a lamb carrying the same modified genes which was later sent to a slaughterhouse and whose meat was then sold to individuals in the Paris region.


The result of internal dysfunctions

The decision of sending the lamb to slaughterhouse was the result of internal dysfunctions and especially the disagreement between employees, said the INRA. The lamb was put by one of them within a “regular” sheep livestock that was supposed to be sent to the slaughterhouse. Whether this was intentional or not remains unknown. His superior, who had signed the authorisation of deliverance to the slaughterhouse, after asking where was the lamb in question and realising what he had authorized, decided to remain silent and not to tell his hierarchy. In the end, the first employees decided to talk.


The investigation of the French Ministry of Agriculture and the ANSES report

An investigation, required by the French ministry of agriculture, was carried out. Several failures in the INRA units were found out (e.g. lack of identification of GMO lambs, law requirements infringements). A report has to me made by the 30th of June and the INRA promised to act on those kinds of misbehaviours.

The French National Agency for sanitary security of food supply, environment and work (ANSES) was consulted by several General Directorates (health, food and agriculture) in early June, in order to report on what could be the consequences of this case upon human health. Even if the report found out that such a risk was nearly non-existing, it shows that the responsible authorities were aware of the matter but didn't warn the public before “Le Parisien” yesterday did it.

According to “Le Parisien”, there is no way to discover to whom the GMO meat was sold since in case of sale to individuals there is no requirement for slaughterhouses to set up precise traceability. 


The presence of genetically modified meat in the food supply chain: a failure that shouldn't happen

The GMO release into our food supply system and more generally into the environment falls under the Directive 2001/18/CE. In any case, GMO producers shall have an authorisation before release which is subject to a risk assessment. For the moment no GMO animals have been authorised, but two EFSA's guides of assessment have been already published in anticipation (respectively on the environmental risk and on the risk linked to the use of it in human and animals food). 

In this case the release was subsequent to a misbehaviour or mistake and the GMO meat of the lamb was never intended for human consumption. It is thus absolutely intolerable that a GMO finishes in our plate without going through the required procedures. A legal proceeding has been opened and hopefully this infringement, even possibly unintentional, will be punished in order to preserve the consumer's trust.



The traceability of meat: a recurring EU issue still unsolved

After the mad cow disease in 2000 and the so-called “Horsegate” scandal in 2013, the food safety issue is back on the table. 

Since the Regulation n° 1760/2000, bovine meat has to be labelled. With the Regulation n°1169/2011 of the Parliament and Council of the EU, this obligation has been extended to sheep, goat, pork and poultry fresh, chilled or frozen meat. These rules are only applying since the 1st April 2015. The labelling must contain the rearing and slaughtering countries as well as the birth and countries of processing for bovine meat.

However this obligation doesn't concern “processed meat”, i.e. neither meat as component or ingredient of a ready-meal or dishes, nor deli meats are concerned, but only raw meat.  A resolution was adopted by the EU Parliament last February, asking the EU Commission to make a proposal on that matter. The Council also discussed the opportunity of such a labelling in June. The opinions were diverse, but France and Italy for instance were very in favour of such an obligation. In the same spirit of improving the meat traceability, France adopted similar measures with the “Hamon” Law of the 17th March 2014, not applied yet. The BEUC, a European Organisation gathering more than 40 consumers organisations, is also supporting the need of a reform. Nevertheless an EU Commission proposal on such a matter is not on the agenda yet.

On the same topic, the organic label is being reviewed this year. A General Approach of the Council of the EU on the EU Commission proposal has even been found on the 17th of June. Nevertheless one point of the General Approach has been very much criticized by some member States. Indeed forbidden substances (e.g. GMO) traces are allowed under certain circumstances.


As response to an increasing concern of the public toward what we eat, a transparent, comprehensive and adequate mandatory labelling should be provided for as well as a better control of the compliance with the existing rules, so that we never find out “jellyfish-lamb” in our plates without knowing it !


Read more:

Article of Le Parisien (in French):

Press release of the French National Agency for sanitary security of food supply, environment and work: