5.03.2018 – First EU Reference Centre for Animal Welfare

The EU Commission has designated the first EU Reference Centre for Animal Welfare made up of a consortium formed by the Wageningen Livestock Research (The Netherlands), the Friedrich Loeffler Institute (Germany) and the Department of Animal Science at Aarhus University (Denmark). It will focus on pig welfare and its designation will be reviewed every five years.

The Centre will provide technical support and coordinated assistance to the Member States to carry out official controls on animal welfare and contribute to the dissemination of good practices, carry out scientific studies, training courses and disseminating research and information on technical innovations.

The link to the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/329 of 5 March 2018 designating a European Union Reference Centre for Animal Welfare is available here.



18.01.2018 – Animal Welfare Intergroup meeting

The next Animal Welfare Intergroup meeting will take place on Thursday 18 January, from 9.30 to 11.00 hrs, in room LOW N 3.2, EP Strasbourg. The topic discussed will be on the set-up of the EP Committee of Inquiry on Animal Transport and the animal welfare related work programme of the Bulgarian Presidency (agenda).

Web-streaming: http://www.animalwelfareintergroup.eu/meetings/livestream/ 



24.04.2018 – International Animal Welfare Summit 2018

International Animal Welfare Summit 2018

The 1st International Animal Welfare Summit will take place on April 24th 2018, at Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna.

The IAWS will welcome renowned national and international experts in animal welfare and research, along with representatives from the political and commercial arenas, civil society initiatives and NGOs.

For more details and registration (from mid-October) visit www.iaws2018.com


Disappointment after the 2nd meeting of the EU Animal Welfare Platform

The European Animal Welfare Platform

The EU Commission should take animal welfare more seriously

13.11.2017 – Brussels. On Friday 10th November, the second meeting of the EU Animal Welfare Platform took place in Brussels. As announced during the last meeting, the EU Commission confirmed that two sub-groups will be created: one on transport should be finalised by the end of this year, and a second one on pig welfare should be established after the next Platform meeting in June 2018.

Many Member States and other stakeholders requested the establishment of more sub-groups, in order to tackle important animal welfare issues, in particular on illegal trade in dogs and cats, and on equine welfare. Sadly, the EU Commission made clear that it is not intentioned to establish other official working groups, and repeated that it is not intentioned to produce or amend EU legislation on animal welfare – even when it is much needed, as in the case of live animal transport.

Pierre Sultana, FOUR PAWS EU Director, “We welcome the idea to create sub-groups on transport and pigs to improve the enforcement of these pieces of EU legislation. However, we regret that the EU Commission is not willing to create some others, in particular regarding the issue of pet trade, ignoring once again the demands of EU citizens, confirmed by the last Eurobarometer on animal welfare”. Five Member States, who recently produced a joint proposal on pet trade, demanded the establishment of a subgroup on dogs and cat trade, and were supported by other Member States and stakeholders. This demand is in line with the aims of the CARO (“Companion Animal Responsible Ownership”) project, supported by the EU Commission itself.

FOUR PAWS also welcomes the highly needed discussion on equine welfare that took place in the afternoon session, in particular on the topic of population management. FOUR PAWS would however like to recall that the main reason why some horses are “unwanted” is because of some amateur – and unfortunately also professional – breeders, who are breeding many more horses than the market absorbs, thus generating dreadful consequences for such unfortunate animals. FOUR PAWS would therefore support the establishment of a sub-group on this topic, as requested by several Member States. It is indeed much needed that the EU Commission, Member States and other stakeholders work together in this direction. Pierre Sultana added: “The EU should make sure that any legislative change of animal welfare legislation is truly in favour of the animals, and not of detriment to them”.

Facing the repeated call to create more sub-groups, the EU Commission finally let a small door open for members of the Platform, , who will be able to organise informal sub-groups on other topics, and report back to other participants during the general meetings, in order to improve collaboration on specific topics.  “We would like to invite the EU Commission and the Platform to consider the call of the EU Member States and other stakeholders and to take courageous decisions where needed”.


To review the web stream of the meeting: https://webcast.ec.europa.eu/second-meeting-of-the-platform-on-animal-welfare

Click here to access the minutes of the second meeting of the EU Platform on Animal Welfare.

Contact information:
VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS, European Policy Office
Avenue de la Renaissance 19/11, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Email: office@vier-pfoten.eu; communication@four-paws.eu                                         
Phone: 0032-2-7400888

11.11.2017 – Improvement of Animal Welfare standards monitoring in UK Slaughterhouses

© VIER PFOTEN International Environment Secretary Michael Gove has confirmed that CCTV will be mandatory in all slaughterhouses in England early 2018 and will come into force next spring. Official vets, working for the Food Standards Agency, will have unrestricted access to the last 90 days of footage.  (Read more here).

This news comes a year after the French parliament voted to install mandatory video surveillance in slaughterhouses from 1 January 2018.

Read the full ‘Mandatory Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) recording in slaughterhouses: Summary of responses and Government response’


26.10.2017 – Next meeting of the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals

The Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals will take place on Thursday 26 October 2017, from 10:00 – 11:30 hrs (Room LOW N 3.2, EP Strasbourg).

The following topics will be discussed:

–         The Welfare of Equidae (Guidelines for dairy donkeys: good animal management practices for donkey milk production).

–         New working group on Cage Free Farming.

The agenda is available here.

Web stream available here.



04.10.2017 – EU Auditors to examine animal welfare measures

The European Court of Auditors will verify in five Member States (Germany, France, Italy, Poland and Romania), whether payments for animal welfare have been well used and effective. The audit will cover breeding, transport and slaughter.

The goal by 2020, is to go beyond the minimum requirements set at national and EU level.

The audit report is expected to be published end of 2018, before the European Parliament elections of 2019.

The press release is available here.



14.09.2017 – ENDING PIG PAIN – The Commission’s work programme on pig welfare

The Intergroup on the Welfare & Conservation of Animals is meeting on Thursday 14 September 2017 from 10:00 – 11:00 hrs, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg (Room LOW N 3.), regarding the Commission's work programme on pig welfare – Will the EU manage to phase out the surgical castration of pigs by 2018?

Please follow the link to access the agenda.


02.08.2017 – Nicolas Hulot wants to create a think tank on animal welfare

France's Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot announced on Wednesday 2 August, that he wants to "create a think tank on animal welfare" under the authority of "a philosopher and a parliamentarian". "This is a societal matter, we should not be afraid to raise it," said Nicolas Hulot, wishing to set up a future group capable to draw conclusions concerning animal welfare.

Read more here


18.07.2017 – FOUR PAWS joins new animal welfare group BelgPAAG to fight online illegal pet trade

Belgium, 18.07.2017 – The international animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS is now part of the new animal welfare group BelPAAG (Belgian Pet Advertising Advisory Group) and will work jointly with the group to promote responsible pet advertising. Unscrupulous trading of puppies and other animals online is a growing concern across and outside Europe, due to the fact that no EU legal framework regarding online selling of pets exists, which makes this trend difficult to control.

Continue reading 18.07.2017 – FOUR PAWS joins new animal welfare group BelgPAAG to fight online illegal pet trade