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:


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:



ECHR: information on management of stray dogs by public authorities are of general interest and should be freely accessible


Today, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has given a judgment regarding Bulgarian stray dogs and the right to acccess to information of Animal Welfare NGOs.


Summary of Facts:

In the case Guseva v/ Bulgaria, the applicant, an animal welfare NGO is complaining about the refusal of the municipality of Vidin to provide information about an agreement concluded between the municipality and the municipal company “Cleanliness” EOOD, for the collecting of stray animals on the territory of Vidin municipality.

Facing the refusal of the mayor of the municipality, the organisation has started a legal complaint.

One year later, the same organisation asked to the municipality of Vidin information concerning the annual statistics for 2001 and 2002 about animals held in an animal shelter called “Municipal Care". Once again, the municipality refused to provide the requested information.

In a third demand, few months laters, the animal welfare organisation asked for information regarding public procurement procedure which had been organised by the mayor and aimed at reducing the number of stray dogs in Vidin. The applicant wanted to know the number of the organisations which had tendered for a contract with the municipality, which ones had passed the pre-selection stage, and – in respect of those who have – the following information: the type and number of qualified staff they employed; the infrastructure and facilities they had for humane catching and transportation of dogs; the proof they had presented for their capacity to deliver quality services; and, the price they asked for providing the services. Once again, the municipality refused to provide the requested information.


The procedure in front of the Court

After several complaints and legal procedures with no real result, the applicants decided to make an appeal in front of the Court of Human Rights for infringement of its right to information and to its right to obtain an effective remedy.

The Court concludes to the violation by Bulgaria of Article 10 (freedom of expression) and Article 13 (Right to an effective remedy) of the European Convention of Human Rights. The State of Bulgaria will have to cover the applicant's justice fees and also to pay a remedy of 5,000€.

The Court based its judgment on the fact that information regarding the management of stray animals by the public authorities are information of general interest, meaning that anyone should be able to acceed to this information.


Please read the full text of the judgment on


France: After the Senate denied sensibility to animals, the National Assemblee reaffirmed it

On January 22nd, the Senate has rejected an amendment to the French Civil Code, introduced by the National Assemblee aiming to recognize that animals are sentient beings. 

In the French Rural Code, kept domestic animals are already recognised as sentient beings, and the Criminal Code penalized animal mistreatments. But the Civil Code still considered animals as goods. Following a massive ask of the citizens and also of 24 French intellectuals (see more), an amendment was introduced last year by the MP Glavany in order to change the Civil legal status of the animals. This amendment was already the result of harsh negociations between the MPs, as many of them are hunters. Therefore the amendment stated that only "kept" animals are sentient beings, excluding wild animals of its scope. It had already been hardly criticised by animal welfare organisations (see more). 

But on 28 January 2015, the National Assemblee has finally re-implemented the amendment deleted by the Senate. Therefore, the amendment is adopted and provides that animals are "living beings gifted sentience".





France: Prohibition of the barbaric tradition of "Encierro à l'Eyraguaise " (bull rope)

After a fight of twelve years, the French organisations "Alliance Anti-corrida", "Œuvre d'Assistance aux Bêtes d'Abattoirs" and the SPA of the region of Arles (south of France) have succeeded to get a judgment banning the "bull rope" a barbaric bull run. These races can result in injuries to the bull whose movements are hampered by a rope at the horns. The bull's head is projected in all the directions, with a violent pull on the rope held by a group of people.

This tradition was already banned by the Prefecture of the Region, but despite the ban was still taking place. The high court of Tarascon has cancelled and prohibited the next run that was suppose to happen on January 15. The oprganisers have been sentenced to a € 3,000 fine. Moreover, they will have to pay 400€ to each organisation.

More on


Relaunch of the CAROdog and CAROcat websites

Leading EU cat and dog welfare websites launch new design and content

In the EU Member States, many dogs and cats still suffer because of the unsolved and increasing problem of uncontrolled births, which can result in abandonment or severely inadequate living conditions. In addition, cases of mistreatment are widespread, sometimes in organised forms such as dog fighting and puppy mills. As a result, millions of dogs and cats in Europe experience great suffering. Overpopulation has sometimes generated social problems, including those of health and safety.

With the aim of responding to such problems, the CAROdog project ( was launched in 2010, and CAROcat ( followed in February 2013.

The aim of the CAROdog and CAROcat websites is to offer sustainable solutions to help dogs and cats in the EU through the dissemination of reliable and science-based information related to legislative, legal, social and scientific activities for the protection of companion animals in Europe. These websites propose a systematic approach to canine and feline population management to avoid the killing of healthy animals, starting from responsible ownership as the basis of individual and community commitment to dog and cat welfare.

Today in Brussels, a new phase of this work has been presented.

Within the framework of these projects, conferences on dog and cat welfare have already been held in several EU countries. A EU canine and feline traceability working group has been established, addressing the important issue of identification and registration of companion animals.

The initiators of the CAROdog and CAROcat projects are the international animal welfare organisation VIER PFOTEN – founded and based in Austria, with national offices in seven European Member States and with a European Policy Office in Brussels, Belgium – and the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Abruzzo e del Molise, Teramo, Italy – the OIE Collaborating Centre for veterinary training, epidemiology, food safety and animal welfare. The European Commission and the European Federation of Veterinarians (FVE) are supporting the websites with their expertise and have placed their representatives on the editorial boards. For the CAROcat website, the Advisory Board on Cat Diseases (ABCD) is an additional partner. Together we are creating a reliable knowledge-based system.

The most evident sign of this new phase of the CAROdog and CAROcat projects is the new architecture and content of the websites, now including a dedicated space for dog and cat owners. The websites are also now more user friendly.

Marlene Wartenberg, Director of VIER PFOTEN’s European Policy Office, said: “The work of the last few years has been very rewarding, both in terms of attention received by the websites in Europe and beyond, and because CAROdog and CAROcat have become an authoritative presence for the protection of companion animals in the European Union. More protection for companion animals is needed in Europe, especially as there are tendencies at the moment to declare stray animals as second-class dogs and cats, with less protection”.

The new CAROdog and CAROcat websites contain information about responsible dog and cat ownership and population management; scientific, legal and practical information; solution strategies; a library; tools, projects and programmes; news and events; and a regularly updated special focus section. The available information is all designed to provide the most transparent and direct access for users.


We hope that old and new visitors to our websites will find the new versions even more interesting and inspiring.


The Websites


Vote on the Animal Health Law: FOUR PAWS welcomes marking steps towards more welfare for all companion animals including stray

FOUR PAWS welcomes marking steps towards more welfare for all companion animals including stray

On 15 April 2014, the European Parliament voted on the EU Commission's proposal for a new, comprehensive Animal Health Law. FOUR PAWS welcomes the result and especially the call of MEPs for the identification and registration of all dogs in Europe. Moreover, it is an important step that several animal health and welfare aspects concerning companion animals have been added to the proposal of the EU Commission.

Up to now, the Commission made a substantial difference between wild animals and kept animals. Due to the voting of the MEPs, stray animals will no longer fall under the scope of ‘wild animals’ but will be defined under a new category of ‘non-owned animals of domesticated species’. This is crucial not to let abandoned and non-owned animals fall under the category of wild animals, in order to avoid a massive eradication of them. Dogs must be considered as domestic animals, even if they are no longer under direct human control. “It is neither acceptable to create an arbitrary distinction in the definition of dogs, ignoring a classical biological categorisation of the animals, nor to create a ‘two-class system’ for dogs, depending if they have an owner or not.  This would also contradict the Treaty of Lisbon defining all animals as sentient beings.” says Dr. Marlene Wartenberg, Director of FOUR PAWS’ European Policy Office in Brussels. “Moreover, such an unclear and illogic distinction would lead to legal uncertainties when it comes to an application of the norm in the whole of Europe.”

Another great step for health prevention and animal welfare; the majority of MEPs also voted in favor of one amendment requiring Member States to establish for January 2018 a mandatory system of registration and identification of all dogs and presenting a respective report. In regards to this, by July 2019 the EU Commission will submit a report on the experience gained by Member States by establishing these databases and, on the basis of this report, present minimum standards for such a system of registration of dogs. 


Here, too, the obligation of private as well as public owners (e.g. public shelters) to identify and register companion animals as a basic principle of ‘responsible ownership’, which is supported by FOUR PAWS, was accepted. It would also create a ‘two-class system’ for dogs if this was only provided for animals being kept in a private household.


“The vote of the European Parliament marks a step towards a future system of traceability, an improvement of health for humans and animals, and animal welfare,” concludes Wartenberg. “The new obligation will strengthen the principles of a responsible ownership of animals and stand for a togetherness of humans and animals in Europe. We hope that, when the concluding negotiations of the European Parliament with the Member States in The Council and the Commission are finished, these two important achievements will be preserved.”

Please


Animal Welfare in Serbia: good laws but poor enforcement


Serbia has the best Animal Welfare legislation of the World. Unfortunately, more than 8 years after their adoption, these laws are not enforced at all, which result in practice in a lot of animal suffering. People even don't know how and to who to report cases of animal cruelty.


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Press Conference in the EU Parliament on Stray Dog situation in Romania

Yesterday, the Members of the European Parliament, Andrea Zanoni and Janusz Wojciechowski, held a press conference in the European Parliament to discuss the result of their delegation visit to Romania, following the adoption of the new law on dog population management.

Continue reading Press Conference in the EU Parliament on Stray Dog situation in Romania


New study: Puppies coming from pet stores have a much higher risk of developing behavior problems

The result of an American online survey has recently been published. It reveals that puppies coming from pet stores have a much higher risk of developing behavior problems due to increased aggression, fearfulness, sensitivity and separation-related issues.

More information on

Link of the online survey: