Animals should be better protected during disasters


Update of 31th May: The final report has been voted in plenary

FOUR PAWS welcomes today's European Parliament's ENVI vote recognizing the key role of animals during disasters

The EP Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety has overwhelmingly supported today the consideration of animals in a EU disaster related political text. The adopted report on the Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Decision No 1313/2013/EU on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism, rightly points out the importance to take animals into consideration when planning disaster risk prevention, by suggesting their inclusion in two different parts of the text.

Until now, the Union Civil Protection Mechanism, which aims at enabling a coordinated response to disasters, points out the importance of people, environment and property, including cultural heritage, but fails to include animals as potential victims during disasters, which is essential for the community to recover more quickly and to avoid poverty.

"Disasters demonstrate how much animals are an important part of our society: not only farm animals are crucial for many agricultural businesses and in the European economy, but also companion animals are important, as they are considered as members of the family. Finally, wildlife is a complete part of the identity of a country. For this reason, FOUR PAWS has been supporting for years, local communities that are victims of natural or man-made disasters, by helping animals", says Pierre SULTANA, Director of the European Policy Office of FOUR PAWS in BRUSSELS, and a trained First Animal Responder. Last year, FOUR PAWS assisted animals during humanitarian and rescue missions, such as in PUERTO RICO after hurricane Maria, or in GAZA, MOSUL and ALEPPO.

According to the European Commission's DG ECHO, for every euro spent in disaster prevention, 4 to 7 euros are saved in disaster response. "Given the importance of animals for the economy and the communities, we are pleased that the Parliamentarians encourage countries and the Commission to adopt a medium- to long-term and sustainable approach, to mitigate the impact of disasters on animals and to help develop awareness. The next step, shall be to ensure the planning, the implementation and the enforcement in the EU and national legislation thereof", warns SULTANA.

The report should now be voted during the plenary sessions of May or June 2018, before the launch of the trilogue negotiations.


Hope for better conditions of Wild Animals in Italian Zoos and Aquaria

The Italian ministry of environment promised
to end degrading shows with wild animals and to scrutinize the licences

A big step forward seems to be done for wild animals in Italian zoos and aquaria: after two years of activities by the Animal Welfare organisations LAV and Born Free the Italian government reacted with a formal letter. The confirmed to scrutinize the compliance of the zoos and aquaria with national and EU legislation. This means that the discovered shows and performances with animals will be stopped and the issued licenses will be proved and institutions infringing national or/and EU legislation will be closed.
This is the result of the campaign for wild animals initiated by LAV and Born Free Foundation. Since 2014 these Animal Welfare Organisations tabled five reports based on intensive research about their inquiries of zoos and aquaria in Italy, including photos and video documentation, to the Italian Minister of Environment. Not only the conditions of keeping the animals were mostly extraordinary poor and against the EU standards, they discovered and documented wild animals required to perform unnatural behaviors in unnatural settings such as parrots made to ride bicycles, chimpanzees to entertain the public dressed in clothes and delphins made jumping through hoops for food reward. Now finally the government has officially reacted. The ministry for environment stated that these shows in particular are an infringement of national legislation (Decreto no 73 of 2005) but also against the EU Directive for Zoos (1999/22/EC) and the Minister promised to stop the degrading shows with wild animals and to prove the issued licences and to withdraw them when necessary.
Since 1999 the EU Zoo Directive is valid – even it is an extraordinary short Directive it provides the Member States with clear obligations regarding zoos and comparable institutions and to implement adequate national legislation. And, more than this, in 2015 the EU Commission published the result of a study, a ‘good practices document’ to help the EU Member States to improve compliance with the EU Directive by concrete practical advice and giving species specific examples.
Again this situation confirms the important role of Animal Welfare Organisations in the field of enforcement of legislation on national and EU level. And of course LAV and Born Free will continue to improve the announced measures for compliance by the Italian Competent Authority.


Animal welfare deserves better from investment policy

International finance institutions and member state export credit agencies continue to invest in projects outside the EU involving cruel farm animal confinement systems banned in the EU. Better joined-up thinking is needed with regard to investment policy and animal welfare, writes Joanna Swabe.

Dr Joanna Swabe is executive director for Humane Society International/Europe.

Over the past couple of decades, the European Union has adopted and implemented legislation that has eliminated the most extreme confinement systems for farm animals, such as barren battery cages for laying hens, cages for broiler chickens and individual sow stalls for pigs.

The European Commission asserts that animal welfare is a priority for the EU. Indeed, the majority of EU citizens across all member states share this view of the importance of animal welfare, as the results of a recent Eurobarometer has revealed. Yet something seems to be getting lost in translation when it comes to safeguarding animal welfare through EU and member state investment policy.

Full article available in here.


MEPS urged to back plan for better equine welfare

Members of the European Parliament have been urged by Europe’s leading equine welfare organisations to back an initiative* by Julie Girling MEP (ECR, UK), paving the way for a raft of actions to dramatically improve the welfare of equines throughout the European Union.


Please find the whole article in here.