FOUR PAWS disapproves of European Commission’s plans to consider stray domestic animals as wild animals
Brussels, 05.12.2014. For the last three years, the European Commission has been drafting an Animal Health Law, which is supposed to replace and encompass most of the present EU legislation on animal health, striving for simplification and greater consistency under common principles and general rules.
International animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS, present in 7 EU countries in addition to an office in Brussels, welcomes these intentions, and has been happy to see that in the framework of the elaboration of the draft text Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have called for the identification and registration of all dogs in Europe. This would be a fundamental tool to prevent not only health risks for humans and animals, but also abandonment and illegal trade in puppies; therefore to protect dogs, and finally reduce canine overpopulation.
However, in the present draft of the Animal Health Law, an opposing trend has become apparent which might now even determine the decrease of protection: the proposal tabled by the European Commission wants to consider stray domestic animals as wild animals.
Marlene Wartenberg, Director of FOUR PAWS European Policy Office in Brussels regards these developments as concrete threat to animal welfare across the EU. “If this proposal was approved it would mean that stray and free-roaming animals would be granted a lower level of protection in the EU. In some situations, this could offer legal grounds for allowing hunters to shoot at them, as it has already been proposed in the past in various countries”.
The proposal is presently being discussed in the last stage of the legislative process conducted through the Trialogue (which includes European Council, Commission and Parliament). Lamentably, last week in the European Parliament, Commission officials confirmed their intention to keep the text as it is, despite admitting that the definition of stray animals as ‘wild’ is confusing.
This decision would ignore the fundamental biological distinction between wild and domestic animals, and be taken against the basic principle of Article 13 of the EU Treaty (TFEU) that considers animals to be sentient beings, and requires new EU legislation to take their needs into account. Also, it would deliberately ignore the constant requests of EU citizens to increase the level of protection granted to all animals, not to decrease it.
This is happening without publicity, in the attempt to get this unacceptable definition passed without attracting criticism. FOUR PAWS has thus decided to give voice to EU citizens (and their animals) by organising an international protest that starts with a postcard campaign addressed to the EU Institutions and that EU citizens can share.
‘We are asking our representatives in Europe and the Commission to withdraw this unacceptable proposal, and focus on improving animal health and welfare instead’ – say Wartenberg,. ‘We have been working for responsible ownership of companion animals since 2010 through projects like CAROdog and – since 2013 – CAROcat. As this proposal can seriously undermine our work, we will now offer EU citizens the chance to tell directly to the European Commission what they expect them to do.
We hope that common sense will prevail over the fanciful idea of some officials.’.
Campaign materials are already available in various EU countries, and further actions will be announced soon.
Share the postcards