EU Zoos Directive, Good Practices Document, July 2015

The EU Commission published a document on good practices regarding the enforcement of the EU Zoo Directive. 

The Commission launched a study contract with a view to promoting the sharing of experience and of good practice for the implementation of the Zoos Directive aimed at supporting practitioners and Member States in implementing
the spirit and requirements of the Zoos Directive. This has involved consultation with experts and practitioners in different Member States and with different representative bodies concerned with Zoos.
This included a dedicated expert workshop, which took place in Brussels in November to share draft results of the study. The document reports on the findings of this study and aims to summarise the current state of knowledge and
highlight good practices to support practitioners and Member States with a view to helping the m achieve the overall
objective of strengthening the role of zoos in the conservation of biodiversity.

Author: EU Commission

Date: July 2015




EU WRITTEN DECLARATION on the creation of a one-stop shop for animal welfare

WRITTEN DECLARATION on the creation of a one-stop shop for animal welfare
Registered on 27.05.2015 by Jacqueline FOSTER , Janusz WOJCIECHOWSKI , Anja HAZEKAMP , Marlene MIZZI , Jörg LEICHTFRIED , Pavel POC , Marit PAULSEN , Catherine BEARDER , Ivo VAJGL , Keith TAYLOR , Franc BOGOVIČ

Date opened : 27-05-2015 
Lapse date : 27-08-2015 

1.   Protecting and enhancing animal welfare is a fundamental mark of a civilised society, yet in too many Member States the issue is not given sufficient credence and existing standards are not achieved.

2.   This reflects a fragmented division of responsibilities, which is often confusing and opaque to those seeking information, advice and guidance on enforcement of agreed standards.

3.   This was confirmed by the Commission’s Impact Assessment of the European Union Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012-2015, which called for more effective enforcement and greater coherence of policy for all animal species, regardless of their circumstances or location.

4.   The Commission is hereby called upon to establish a one-stop shop to streamline animal welfare concerns under the existing directorates-general structure and to act as a single and central point of information and expertise.

5.   The Commission should also task the one-stop shop with responding quickly to information received from the public and interested parties in order to ensure that cases of non-compliance with requirements are directed to, and dealt with by, the appropriate Commission officials within seven days.

6.   This declaration, together with the names of the signatories, is forwarded to the Commission.

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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.

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Wild ? Me ? Campaign: FOUR PAWS starts an online protest

FOUR PAWS is protesting against the latest Animal Health Law, drafted by the European Commission, which plans to classify domestic animals that are not owned or kept by humans, such as stray dogs and cats, as wild animals, while at the same time not classifying owned animals such as lions and elephants in circuses or zoos, as wild.

Wild animals, presently hunted and shot all over Europe, have a lower level of protection than domestic and companion animals. Defining stray cats and dogs as wild animals could, in some situations, offer legal grounds for allowing hunters to shoot at them, as has already been proposed in the past in various European countries. Moreover, questioning the basic biological distinctions of the animals for practical reasons will lead to legal uncertainty, which could lead to animal welfare issues.

Please, help us fight this inappropriate definition!

Following a strong protest by FOUR PAWS, the European Parliament has voted against this definition. On February 5, this definition within the Animal Health Law will be discussed by the European Commission, the Council, representing the Member States and the European Parliament! There’s still a chance for us to prevent from this highly problematic definition.


Join the protest on


102 million of unduly spent Euros by Greece, Ireland and Slovenia will have to be reimbursed to the EU

A total of €102 million of EU agricultural policy funds, unduly spent by Member States, is being claimed back by the European Commission from Greece, Ireland and Slovenia under the so-called clearance of accounts procedure. This money returns to the EU budget because of non-compliance with EU rules or inadequate control procedures on agricultural expenditure. Member States are responsible for paying out and checking expenditure under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and the Commission is required to ensure that Member States have made correct use of the funds.

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Joint Declaration on Animal Welfare

On December 14th 2014, the Ministries of Netherlands, Denmark and Germany have co-written and signed a joint declaration on animal welfare aiming to improve animal welfare in the EU. The three countries are calling all the other Member States to sign it also.

Please find here the joint declaration: Animal Welfare Declaration


GMOs: the EU is discussing in favor of more national restrictions

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VIER PFOTEN held an Expert workshop on stray animals in Europe

From left: Andrea Gavinelli (Head of Unit G3 Animal Welfare European Commission), Elisabeth Jeggle (Member of the European Parliament), Christoph Maisack (Deputy Animal Welfare Commissioner State of Baden-Württemberg), Marlene Wartenberg ( Director European Policy Office VIER PFOTEN), Paolo Dalla Villa (Unit 3G Animal Welfare European Commission) 

© Natascha Dolezal


European expert round on companion animals demands better treatment of stray animals

In the frame of an expert workshop on stray animals in Europe, organised by the International animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS and the Representation of the State Baden-Württemberg to the EU, representatives of the EU institutions, the Member States and relevant stakeholders declared the need for better protection of stray animals in Europe.

The ongoing mistreatments of stray animals in Europe, especially in Romania since September 2013, urge European decision makers to take action. This stands in contradiction to the Treaty of Lisbon where the principle of animal welfare is anchored in the status of animals as sentient beings, giving us humans full responsibility for the animals who are our fellow creatures.

The workshop aimed to bring together relevant decision makers and representatives from the Member States to discuss feasible and sustainable programmes around Europe to control canine and feline population, the respect of the right to live of these animals as well as human and animal health and welfare issues.

The participants agreed that the protection of the weakest members of our society is a characteristic European value and that the killing of unwanted healthy dogs and cats in Europe does not correspondend with our understanding of the human-animal relationship in Europe of the 21st century.

The happenings in Romania have been criticised heavily by all participants. The way how stray dogs are treated like at the moment in Romania stands in clear conflict to the Rule of Law and is infringing our European values.


That, in fact, there are effective, humane and sustainable ways to deal with the problem of unwanted stray animals, has been proven through several examples of other Member States  like Belgium, Bulgaria and Italy. Thanks to the political will of these countries governments, they have national structured stray dog and stray cat programmes to reach a balanced number of animals. These programmes are always based on a multiannual plan inlcuding systematic birth control, veterinary care inlcuding vaccinations, mandatory identification and registration for all dogs and cats and close coopration with NGOs. This ‘responsible ownership’ package was the only accepted succesful strategy throughout all presentations.  



The result of the workshop is a common declaration of all participants, asking the responsible actors of the EU institutions and the Member States to improve the protection and welfare of stray animals in Europe and public safety, and to fulfil their duties within the frame of their work.