25.04.2018 – EU Commissioner for Health, Vytenis Andriukaitis: “We need to re-recognize that animals are sentient beings.”

© Adrian Almasan - www.adrianalmasan.com

FOUR PAWS hosted the first International Animal Welfare Summit in Vienna, Austria

Brussels, 25th April 2018 – International animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS hosted the first International Animal Welfare Summit in Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna on 24th April. The theme of the event: “Animal welfare – question of the future or luxury problem?”. More than 300 guests were in attendance to hear speeches and discussions from experts from the fields of science, nutrition, economics and arts.

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen took over the patronage for this first of its kind event. In his humorous speech, he spoke of animal welfare "as a matter of the heart". Animal welfare was "thank goodness no longer a luxury topic". Rather, it is "an existential question that concerns us all." The summit is a step in the right direction: "Today we will ask ourselves questions and try to find solutions for them together."

European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, also emphasized the importance of animal welfare: "We need to re-recognize that animals are sentient beings." Andriukaitis spoke of the EU's recent achievements in animal welfare, but also on the huge challenges yet to come.

Host Heli Dungler, founder and president of FOUR PAWS, addressed a bitter truth in his welcoming speech: Over the next 30-40 years, the number of farm animals on earth will double. The emergent countries in particular will greatly increase their meat consumption. Dungler warned against the effects of this development not only on animal welfare, but also on the environment.

In his eagerly awaited interview on stage, Ai Weiwei, Chinese conceptual artist and human rights activist, talked about his personal connection with FOUR PAWS. When he did a research piece on refugees in Gaza a few years ago, he came across a tiger rescued by FOUR PAWS. The animal was trapped in an abandoned zoo in Gaza. Animals, according to Ai Weiwei, have always been part of human life – and have been victims of humans for far too long. It's time to reflect on human values ​​and show more responsibility to all living creatures, he added.

Renowned author, activist and scientist Raj Patel took over with his keynote on the topic "A Planet for All?". In his lively and entertaining talk, he focused on cheap mass production with all its devastating effects on humans, animals and the environment.

The present Jordanian Princess Alia, founder of the "Princess Alia Foundation" and long-time companion of FOUR PAWS, was appointed to a special ambassador of the Animal Welfare Summit.

More information about the IAWS 2018 can be found here: http://www.iaws2018.org.


Motion for a European Parliament resolution on introducing a European animal welfare and public health label

Introduced by MEP Rikke Karlsson 

Motion for a European Parliament resolution on introducing a European animal welfare and public health label

The European Parliament,

– having regard to Rule 133 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas at any one time 65 billion animals are being kept worldwide to produce food for people, and whereas in Europe 80% of such animals are reared intensively with more regard for profit than for animal welfare and public health;

B. having regard to the suffering caused by genetic selection, mutilation, the premature separation of mother and offspring, the use of GMO feedingstuffs, battery farming and transport and the industrial slaughter of terrified livestock without effective stunning;

C. whereas repeated scandals in the agrifood industry have revealed the existence of mafia-like networks and methods which take advantage of the abolition of border controls and our decision to forgo food sovereignty;

D. whereas 70 % of meat is still sold without a label specifying its origin;

E. whereas the labelling of eggs as free range has proved a great success;

1. Calls on the Commission to:

– propose measures to consolidate and improve the existing labelling specifications;

– introduce an ‘animal welfare and public health’ label which certifies the ethical nature, the nutritional quality and the traceability of agri-food products and that the welfare of the animals concerned was guaranteed from birth to slaughter;


2. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council and the national parliaments.


The EU Parliament promotes healthy food in schools

The agriculture committee at the European Parliament agreed on promoting the healthy eating habits is schools, as a result of boosting trend of eating processed food and decreasing level of the consumption of fruit and vegetables among youth.

The main goal to achieve is not only introducing the tightest legal standards of food served to children and teenagers at schools (e. g. artificial flavour enhancers and added sweeteners will be completely banned now), but foremost increasing the agriculture awareness and good eating habits among children. Organising farm visits with tasting the organic food and local specialities are just a few possibilities offered to the Member States to encourage the youth to start eating consciously.

Presently, the agreed text concerning getting the special EU funding for this aim is waiting for the Parliament’s approval in March or April 2016. It is worth highlighting that the amount of donation is 150 million euro per year, which will be divided fairly between the EU member states.

You can read more about the MEPs initiative on the healthy eating here:http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/20160111IPR09401/School-milk-and-fruit-agriculture-MEPs-promote-healthy-eating


VIER PFOTEN is also glad to inform you that the new EU policy about the promotion of the healthy eating is completely coherent with one of the VIER PFOTEN’s projects. You can read more about our initiative “Friendly food”, which stands for the good for health, animals and climate, here:http://www.friendlyfood.at/



EU Ombudsman: animal testing has to be avoided when alternative methods are available

In its decision "Decision in case 1606/2013/AN on how the European Chemicals Agency applies rules concerning animal testing" of 11 September 2015, the European Ombudsman estimated that the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) did not take into account the fact that the avoidance of animal testing was, together with the protection of human health and the environment, one of the guiding principles of the Regulation.

The decision follows up a complaint made by the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments, concerns the position of the ECHA refusing to reject animal testing when data could be generated by an alternative method not involving animal tests.

More on http://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/cases/decision.faces/en/60909/html.bookmark


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.


A EU study on Honeybee colony losses

A pan-EU epidemiological study, co-financed by the Commission, on honeybee colony losses, reveals a noticeable decrease in colony mortality rates over the winters of 2013 and 2014. While promising, these results should be interpreted with caution and will be subject to further analysis.

These results come from the final report of the recently concluded EPILOBEE 2012-2014 study on honeybee colony losses, carried out by the EU reference laboratory for bee health. The two-year study aimed to give a harmonized state-of-play of honeybee colony losses in each of the 17 participating Member States. The study also investigated the main honeybee diseases prevalent in Europe.

Full Report here:



Puppy Trade in Europe: the presentations of the EU Parliament event and the VIER PFOTEN report

On 26 November 2013, FOUR PAWS International in support of the European Policy Office of FOUR PAWS hold a lunch debate in the European Parliament on Puppy Trade in Europe. The occasion was the launch of FOUR PAWS' research on the impact of illegal businesses on the market, on consumers, on the one-health concept and on animal welfare.

Keynote speakers were the Members of the European Parliament, Marit Paulsen and Elisabeth Jeggle (Rapporteur and shadow-rapporteur of the draft Animal Health Law). More than 40 participants joined the debate. 


Here are all the relevant documents:



The VIER PFOTEN Report on Puppy Trade in Europe





© Regina Jehle


26.11.2013 Brussels, "Puppy Trade in Europe: A lack of traceability, threat to the European Market and One Health"

This event is organized by VIER PFOTEN International

Date: 26 November 2013, 11.30h – 13.00h,

Location:  European Parliament, room ASP A3F383