Petition No 2032/2013 by by Nuria Menendez de Llano Rodriguez (Spanish), on the violation of EU legislation on the protection of wolves in the region of Asturias, Spain
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:
The European Commission has requested Austria to bring its hunting legislation into line with EU legislation on the protection of wild birds. The Birds Directive (2009/147/EC) prohibits any hunting of migratory birds listed in Annex II during their period of reproduction or during their return to their rearing grounds. Member States may derogate from this requirement only in the absence of other satisfactory solutions and provided that the population of the species concerned is maintained at a satisfactory level. The Austrian provinces of Burgenland, Lower Austria and Salzburg are allowing a hunt for Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola) from 1 March until 15 April, and specifically for male Woodcock during their reproductive courtship flights. The Commission first raised its concerns in a letter of formal notice in March 2014. As the conditions for derogation have not been met and spring hunting of this species is in violation of the Birds Directive, the Commission is now sending a reasoned opinion. If Austria fails to act within two months, the case may be referred to the EU Court of Justice.
(For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172)
Agriculture: European Commission refers ITALY to the Court of Justice for failure to recover milk levies due from Italian producers
The European Commission decided today to refer Italy to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to meet its responsibilities adequately with regard to managing the recovery of the levy for overproduction of milk. This levy should be paid by individual producers having exceeded their individual dairy quotas.
Italy exceeded its national quota every year from 1995 to 2009, and the Italian state paid the Commission the due superlevy amounts over the said period (2.305 billion EUR). However, despite repeated requests by the Commission, the Italian authorities have clearly not taken appropriate measures to effectively recover the levy payable from the individual producers/dairies, as requested by the relevant EU legislation. This undermines the quota regime and distorts competition with those producers who respected their quotas and those who have taken steps to pay their individual superlevy bills. As underlined by the Italian Court of Auditors, this is also unfair on Italian taxpayers.
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.
International 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”.
The 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.
‘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.
On October 16th, the EU Commission has referred the Netherlands to the European Court of Justice over its failure to enact EU legislation on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes (Directive 2010/63/EU). Member States should have implemented this Directive into their national legislation for November 2012 and the Directive should have produced all its effect at the latest on January 1st 2013.
The Dutch government was already warned several time by the EU Commission, and promised that it will implement the Directive for January 2014. But finally, in reason of complications during the legislative process, the law hasn't been adopted yet. Therefore, the EU Commission decided to continue the infringement procedure opened in 2013, and brought the Case to the EU Court of Justice. The European Commission is asking the Court to impose penalty payments of EUR 51 156 per day until the law is enacted
Poland could be the next Country to be referred to the Court for failure to implement this Directive. Indeed, on the same day (October 16th), the EU Commission adressed to Poland a reasonned opinion (2nd step of the infringement procedure). If Poland fails to act within two months, the case may be referred to the EU Court of Justice.
Please read more on the enforcement of Directive 2010/63/EU on http://lawyersforanimalprotection.eu/ongoing-enforcement-activities-and-challenges/animals-in-experiments/
Read the official press release here: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-1141_en.htm
30 January 2014
Angelika Werthmann (ALDE)
29 January 2014
Fiona Hall (ALDE)
More information on http://ec.europa.eu/
27 February 2013
Franz Obermayr (NI)