A new website for the EU Enforcement Network


VIER PFOTEN/FOUR PAWS, European Policy Office

The EU Enforcement Network of Animal Welfare Lawyers and Commissioners has taken a step forward today with the publication of a new website.

Brussels, 8 August 2016. Ever since the very first pieces of EU animal welfare legislation, enforcement has been a serious issue. That is why in 2012 the EU Commission focused primarily on enforcement in the framework of its new Animal Welfare Strategy. Also in 2012, as an outcome of the Conference on enforcement of animal welfare-related EU legislation, VIER PFOTEN’s European Policy Office created the EU Enforcement Network of Animal Welfare Lawyers and Commissioners. Its main aim was to improve enforcement of EU animal welfare legislation in the Member States and to support the new EU Animal Welfare Strategy of the EU Commission.

Four years later, the small network of a dozen active animal welfare lawyers and commissioners has grown significantly, and now has more than 60 members from 20 different countries. Moreover, its website – partnered by the European Policy Office of VIER PFOTEN, the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE), the German Juridical Association for Animal Welfare Law (DJGT), the Swiss foundation Stiftung für das Tier im Recht, and the research group ADS/ALS of the Free University of Barcelona – has helped to share best practices and enforcement tools between the 28 Member States. The number of visits to the website shows that there is sustained interest in the Network all over Europe. In particular, in 2014 the Network established a working group on animal-related terms and definitions, and the report that came from this working group was used as a consultancy document in the drafting of the terms and definitions in the EU Animal Health Law.

Today enforcement is still a big issue. This can be illustrated by the fact that since 2012, no fewer than 10 infringement procedures have had to be initiated against non-compliant States regarding the ‘sow-stall Directive’ and 13 regarding the ‘laying hens Directive’. Moreover, Member States have suggested including this issue in the framework of the announced ‘EU Animal Welfare Platform’. It was therefore the perfect time to renew the website, to share its resources in a more user-friendly way," said Pierre Sultana, Director of the European Policy Office of VIER PFOTEN/FOUR PAWS. "We took time to analyse the website, the visitor data and the feedback received from diverse stakeholders, and from that point we decided to create a new website with a new structure.”

As enforcement and infringement of EU animal welfare legislation remain the main focus, the new website has been structured to enable users to evaluate and compare the Member States regarding these issues in a dynamic way. We have also enriched the website by including the results of the EU Audits on Animal Health and Welfare, and by adding more documents to support proper enforcement, such as guidelines, legal reports and studies. "Moreover, regarding the new challenges for animal health and welfare that we will have to face in the coming years, in particular in the context of the newly adopted EU Animal Health Law, we have decided to enlarge the membership of the Network to include veterinarians," Pierre Sultana added.

The new website is now available at the same address: www.lawyersforanimalprotection.eu


EU Zoos Directive, Good Practices Document, July 2015

The EU Commission published a document on good practices regarding the enforcement of the EU Zoo Directive. 

The Commission launched a study contract with a view to promoting the sharing of experience and of good practice for the implementation of the Zoos Directive aimed at supporting practitioners and Member States in implementing
the spirit and requirements of the Zoos Directive. This has involved consultation with experts and practitioners in different Member States and with different representative bodies concerned with Zoos.
This included a dedicated expert workshop, which took place in Brussels in November to share draft results of the study. The document reports on the findings of this study and aims to summarise the current state of knowledge and
highlight good practices to support practitioners and Member States with a view to helping the m achieve the overall
objective of strengthening the role of zoos in the conservation of biodiversity.

Author: EU Commission

Date: July 2015





EU WRITTEN DECLARATION on the creation of a one-stop shop for animal welfare

WRITTEN DECLARATION on the creation of a one-stop shop for animal welfare
Registered on 27.05.2015 by Jacqueline FOSTER , Janusz WOJCIECHOWSKI , Anja HAZEKAMP , Marlene MIZZI , Jörg LEICHTFRIED , Pavel POC , Marit PAULSEN , Catherine BEARDER , Ivo VAJGL , Keith TAYLOR , Franc BOGOVIČ

Date opened : 27-05-2015 
Lapse date : 27-08-2015 

1.   Protecting and enhancing animal welfare is a fundamental mark of a civilised society, yet in too many Member States the issue is not given sufficient credence and existing standards are not achieved.

2.   This reflects a fragmented division of responsibilities, which is often confusing and opaque to those seeking information, advice and guidance on enforcement of agreed standards.

3.   This was confirmed by the Commission’s Impact Assessment of the European Union Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012-2015, which called for more effective enforcement and greater coherence of policy for all animal species, regardless of their circumstances or location.

4.   The Commission is hereby called upon to establish a one-stop shop to streamline animal welfare concerns under the existing directorates-general structure and to act as a single and central point of information and expertise.

5.   The Commission should also task the one-stop shop with responding quickly to information received from the public and interested parties in order to ensure that cases of non-compliance with requirements are directed to, and dealt with by, the appropriate Commission officials within seven days.

6.   This declaration, together with the names of the signatories, is forwarded to the Commission.

More on http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-%2f%2fEP%2f%2fNONSGML%2bWDECL%2bP8-DCL-2015-0022%2b0%2bDOC%2bPDF%2bV0%2f%2fEN


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


A reasonned opinion adressed to Poland for its failure to implement the Animal in Experiments Directive


On October 16th 2014, the EU Commission adressed to Poland a reasonned opinion for its failure to implement Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes before the deadlin of January 1 2013. If Poland fails to act within two months, the case may be referred to the EU Court of Justice.

Please read more on the enforcement of Directive 2010/63/EU on http://lawyersforanimalprotection.eu/ongoing-enforcement-activities-and-challenges/animals-in-experiments/

Please read the official EU press release here http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-14-589_en.htm


Bulgaria: bad enforcement of the Zoo Directive

Sibling bears Boyka and Standy had to endure several hours of freezing conditions and ended up snowed in after a heavy winter storm where they live in Nikolovo Mini-Zoo “Lipnik” in Ruse (Bulgaria). A wet concrete floor, cage bars that let wind and snow straight through, and almost no room to move – even the thickest bear fur cannot cope with that. Fortunately, the two bear keepers at the mini-zoo also realised this, so they requested help from the FOUR PAWS team at the DANCING BEARS PARK Belitsa in Bulgaria. As our team arrived, the keepers had already started freeing the bears’ cages from snow and ice, but there were fears for the health of the bears.

More information on http://www.vier-pfoten.org