Warsaw (Poland) prohibits wild animals in circuses

The city of Warsaw in Poland has banned the use of wild animals in circuses last week. The initiative came from the mayor of the city who wants to improve the relationship between humans and animals. The ban will only apply for circuses taking place on municipal fields, and not in private area.

In Poland, cities of Slupsk, Bielsko-Biala and Wroclaw have already implemented such a ban.

More on http://www.bfmtv.com/societe/la-ville-de-varsovie-interdit-les-animaux-dans-les-cirques-944640.html


Motion for a European Parliament resolution on stiffer penalties for traffickers of pet and other animals

Motion initiated by MEP Aldo Patriciello

The European Parliament,

– having regard to the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, which was signed in Strasbourg in 1987 and came into force on 1 May 1992,

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

A.     whereas public procurement plays a significant part in the economies of the Member States and may in fact account for more than 16% of Union GDP;

B.     whereas the EU constitutes a significant market and, at the same time, provides a transit route for the illegal trade in rhinoceros horn, ivory and animals and plants threatened with extinction, and whereas it is therefore ideally placed to monitor trading and trafficking;

C.     whereas the illegal trade in products derived from wild animals is a global phenomenon, and whereas demand for such products is increasing all the time, in particular in south-east Asia;

1.      Calls on the Commission to impose stiffer criminal penalties on persons who are involved in the illegal trade in pet and other animals and who exploit and mistreat them.


URL: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=MOTION&reference=B8-2015-0805&format=XML&language=EN


Catalonia bans use of wild animals in circuses

On Wednesday 22nd July, the Catalan parliament voted in favor of a legislation aiming to ban the use of wild animals in circuses and similar performance.

More on http://elpais.com/elpais/2015/07/23/inenglish/1437642575_788570.html

This is a good news as wild animals are often kept in very poor conditions in circuses. Around the World, a lot of countries have already prohibited the keeping of wild animals in circuses, including 7 EU Countries. To raise the issue, FOUR PAWS organised in 2013 a conference "Wild animals in captivity" in collaboration with the Born Free Foundation (see: http://www.vier-pfoten.eu/conferences/2013/2013-conference-wild-animals-in-captivity-animal-welfare-law-and-enforcement/).

Follow also our new hashtag #FOURPAWSgowild


Success for FOUR PAWS Wild? Me? Campaign: EU recognises that homeless cats and dogs are not wild

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:


UK magazine Dogs' today relating the VIER PFOTEN Wild?Me? Campaign

The UK Magazine "Dogs'today" has devoted an article on the VIER PFOTEN Campaign against the consideration of stray dogs as wild animals in the EU Animal Health Law.

Read more about the campaign Wild? Me? here: http://www.vier-pfoten.eu/news-press/archive/press-releases-2014/non-kept-dogs-and-cats-are-not-wild-animals/

Read the article here: 20150511_Dogs Today_Protecting strays from the call of the wild 


Update: Wild? Me? Campaign: the EU Commission answered our letter

At the demand of Mr Miko, Director General of EU Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) and for reasons of transparency, VIER PFOTEN publishes Mr Miko’s answer to our letter of 3 February 2015 as well as the mentioned letter

Despite the deepest respect we have for Mr Miko, VIER PFOTEN disagrees with the interpretation that the distinction between animals which are kept by humans and animals that are not under human control is coherent. Though it is true that this definition covers all animals, there is no need to divide species in two groups, merging in both groups companion and wild animals. We believe that such merging will complicate the enforcement of this law for both veterinarians and lawyers and is not clear for European citizens. This can lead, even not intentionally, to a reduction of the welfare and protection for stray animals, for which “other rules can be applied” (the same as for wild animals such as wild boars, such as massive hunting and killing) as they are not under human control. We believe that the European Commission shall prevent that such event appears!

This is why VIER PFOTEN calls again on the honourable Members of the European Commission, Parliament and Council, in the context of the trilogue, to opt for a definition which does not define homeless cats and dogs as wild animals.

 *We will publish any further communication if the Commission desires so.


Please find here the letter we adressed to Mr Miko: Letter sent 

and here the official answer we received from Mr Miko: Letter received


Written questions January 2015- February 2015 (Newsletter n°25)

Wild Animals

In wildlife

Whale hunting in the Faroe Islands – E-009281/2014


Given this situation in the Faroe Islands, what can the Commission do to put an end to this despicable massacre once and for all?

Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-009281&language=EN    


Wildlife injuries from harvesters – E-010075/2014         


What can the Commission do to address this problem? 2. Will the Commission finance a project group to investigate the problem and come up with possible solutions? 3. What possibilities exist to fund such a project?

Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-010075&language=EN


Legality of capturing birds to be used as live decoys by hunters – E-009061/2014 


In the light of the EU legislation governing this issue, the substance of the two orders referred to above, the Court of Justice’s findings in its judgment in Case C‐182/02 and the guidance document on hunting under Council Directive 79/409/EEC on the conservation of wild birds, in particular paragraph 3.5.22 and the footnotes thereto, can the Commission say:

1.         whether it is aware of the above orders?

2.         what importance it considers should be attached to these orders for the purposes of correctly applying the Birds Directive, bearing in mind the need to observe the principle of subsidiarity?

Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-009061&language=EN


Revision of European legislation on finning – E-009767/2014


1. Will the Commission revise the current legislation so as to enable the finning ban to be enforced in a way geared more closely to the sector’s needs as well as complying with the requirements of international law?

2. How has the fleet been helped to implement this legislation?

3. In view of the unfair competition, is the Commission providing compensation?

Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-009767&language=EN                


By-catch of deep-sea sharks, zero TAC and conservation measures – E-010864/2014


In view of the above, I ask the Commission for information on the following:

1.         Is it intending to insist on maintaining a zero TAC for these species? What evidence does it have pointing to the appropriateness of a measure of this kind and confirming that a benefit for the resource will result?

2.         Does it not think that the possibility of permitting by-catch of deep-sea sharks up to a set limit would encourage better understanding of the species in question, population numbers and reproduction strategies, so that more appropriate conservation measures can be devised?

Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-010864&language=EN


In captivity

Ban on circus animals – E-009108/2014


Can the Commission clarify what actions have been taken by other Member States with regard to the ban on circus animals?

Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-009108&language=EN



Illegal wildlife trade – E-009106/2014 and E-009559/2014

12 Nov. 2014, Marlene Mizzi (S&D) and 20 Nov. 2014, Marc Tarabella (S&D)

Question E-009106/2014

1. What concrete plans does the Commission have to combat the illegal wildlife trade?

2. Does the Commission consider it an urgent need to establish a global action plan to tackle the illegal wildlife trade?

Question E-009559/2014

What initiatives does the new Commission propose taking in order to advance the formulation of the action plan requested by the European Parliament?

Joint Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-009559&language=EN


Sale of seal products – E-009544/2014


How does the Commission propose to ensure that the Convention on Biological Diversity and the principle of sustainable use are respected in the future by permitting trade in seal products from Sweden?

Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-009544&language=EN


Farm Animals


EU labelling, mandatory country of origin – E-009311/2014                 

14 Nov. 2014, Siôn Simon (S&D)


“Does the Commission have any plans to extend mandatory country of origin labelling to other agricultural and processed meat products?”

Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-009311&language=EN


Origin labelling – E-008915/2014

7 November 2014, Marc Tarabella (S&D)


1. What is the Commission’s position on this?

2. Could it follow the matter up, and, if these figures are confirmed, guarantee that it will set up a scheme to counter this worrying trend and its causes?

Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-008915&language=EN


Eggs, live-plucking and poultry

Pure-bred poultry and the application of Directive 2009/158 /EC – E-008936/2014

7 November 2014, Daniel Caspary (PPE)


1.         Is it the intention of the above Directive and of the Commission that the sale of pure-bred poultry breeds in other Member States should be banned in Germany, since the required serological tests pursuant to Article 14, paragraph 2(e), are not feasible in practice for the micro-stocks of pure-bred poultry breeders?

2.         Directive 2009/158/EC provides, in Recital 7, that ‘specific trade’ should be excluded from the scope of this directive. Do pure-bred poultry markets and the act of selling at such markets by pure-bred poultry breeders constitute such ‘specific trade’?

Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-008936&language=EN


Goose feather collection techniques that are harmful to animal welfare – E-009497/2014


— What measures has the Commission taken to enforce the abovementioned directive and to prevent the collection of feathers from live geese which are not going through their natural moulting phase?

— Does the Commission not agree that it might be appropriate to submit a legislative proposal regarding the introduction of a voluntary mark to certify that the goose feathers were obtained without causing suffering to the animals?

Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-009497&language=EN


Plucking of live geese – E-008277/2014


In view of this situation, what does the Commission intend to do to ensure that this recommendation is adhered to and that this practice stops?

Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-008277&language=EN



Protection for rabbits in European breeding farms – E-009611/2014 

21 Nov. 2014, Giulia Moi (EFDD)


“1. What steps has the Commission taken to introduce species‐specific legislation for protecting the welfare of rabbits?

2. Have European funds been used to support rabbit farming and, if so, does the Commission intend to ensure that future funding is not spent on breeding rabbits in battery or enriched cages, but instead solely on breeding systems paying greater attention to their welfare?

3. Does the Commission intend to work with the Italian Government regarding the enormous quantities of antibiotics required to treat the 175 million rabbits bred yearly in the country, as well as on measures to reduce their use?”

Answer http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-009611&language=EN


Transportation and slaughter of live animals outside the EU – E-010843/2014


Does the Commission intend to take concrete and urgent measures to prohibit the transportation of live animals from Europe to third countries?

Does it intend to raise awareness in such countries with a view to the harmonisation of their legislation in this matter with European legislation?

Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-010843&language=EN



Origin labelling for horsemeat – E-009375-14

17 Nov. 2014, Elisabetta Gardini (PPE)


In the light of the above, can the Commission answer the following questions:

1.         What is the current status of the impact and feasibility assessment of the possible extension of the compulsory indication of the country of origin or area of provenance for horsemeat?

2.         What action does the Commission intend to take to ensure that European consumers are correctly informed in this matter and safeguard the competitivity of the Italian horsemeat sector?

Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-009375&language=EN


Standard welfare conditions for horses across the EU – E-010234/2014      


In many Member States, tourist attractions include horse-and-carriage city tours. Given that horses are sentient beings rather than machines, is the Commission considering the introduction of standard welfare conditions for working horses across the EU in order to regulate hours of rest and work and lay down requirements as regards better conditions, food and water consumption and other factors which impact upon the proper treatment of these horses?

Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-010234&language=EN


Companion Animals


Killing of Excalibur – E-009748/2014        


1. In view of the killing of Excalibur, what specific measures will the Commission take under the EU’s 2012-2015 Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals with a view to ensuring compliance with Protocol P4 and/or achieving the goal of zero killings?

2. Will it standardise the protocols on quarantine for biosafety reasons and euthanasia?

Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-009748&language=EN



Travelling / selling

Transport of invertebrates – problems with application of the Regulati – P-001065/2015


The French pet shop workers' union Prodaf has already drawn the attention of DG SANCO to this issue in December 2014 and January 2015. At a meeting on 9 January2015 in Brussels between UPS and Unit G.3, reference was made to the forthcoming publication of new guidelines. I can hardly stress too much the urgency of the situation for many people working in this sector.

1. Has the Commission yet identified any possible approaches to this issue?

2. Could the Commission please state when it expects to publish these new guidelines?

Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=P-2015-001065&language=EN


Puppy smuggling – P-000091/2015


In their role as guardians of the treaties, the Commission and its services such as the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) are responsible for ensuring that EU legislation on animal health and welfare is properly implemented and enforced.

How does the Commission plan to ensure the enforcement of Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 now that it has come into force, given the issues of enforcement with Regulation (EC) No 998/2003?

Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=P-2015-000091&language=EN



Pets to be included in the European Animal Welfare Act – E-010549/2014


Is the Commission considering including pets, and in particular stray dogs and cats, in the European Animal Welfare Act?

Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-010549&language=EN


Stray dogs in Romania during the winter – E-009782/2014      


Can the Commission clarify what special measures have been taken to improve conditions for stray dogs in Romania during the winter?

Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-009782&language=EN



Specific issues


Ban on farming for fur production/animal welfare – E-011036/2014   


Does the Commission intend to ban this type of farming, which clearly does not obey any animal welfare standards?

Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-011036&language=EN


Animals in Experiments

Animal testing in the context of the REACH and Cosmetics regulations – P-000498/2015


Together with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the Commission has recently clarified the relationship between the marketing ban for products tested on animals under the Cosmetics Regulation ((EC) No 1223/2009) and the information requirements under the REACH Regulation ((EC) No 1907/2006). It has made clear that the testing and marketing bans in the Cosmetics Regulation do not apply to testing required for environmental endpoints, exposure of workers or non-cosmetic uses of substances under REACH.

I would therefore welcome a clarification from the Commission on why it considers such an exception to be necessary, and why the tests used to ensure consumer safety cannot be applied to worker safety

Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=P-2015-000498&language=EN


Animal Health Law

Animal categories in the Animal Health Regulation – E-000711/2015


1. Why is there no category of ‘non-kept animals’ in the Animal Health Regulation?

2. Why does the Commission want to categorise stray animals as wild, instead of giving them their own category of ‘non-kept animals’?

Answer: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2015-000711&language=EN


A first Animal Welfare Act for Lebanon ?

Lebanon animal welfare law one step closer to becoming a reality. The law started to be thought in 2009 and was firstly drafted in 2011, following public consultation. A final draft was presented in 2014. This week, the law was approved by the Cabinet of the Ministry of Agriculture. The next step would be the approval of the Bill by the Parliament in order to become a law.

The bill covers every species: farm animals, stray cats and dogs, wild animals, slaughter etc.

More on http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Life/Lubnan/2015/Feb-06/286672-lebanon-animal-welfare-law-one-step-closer-to-becoming-a-reality.ashx


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 https://help.four-paws.org/en/stray-animals-are-not-wild-animals


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".

Read more on http://www.sciencesetavenir.fr/animaux/20150126.OBS0819/statut-des-animaux-le-senat-dit-non.html

and http://lawyersforanimalprotection.eu/france-a-criticized-amendment-on-the-legal-status-of-the-animals-in-the-civil-code/