Horse Meat Scandal: the dutch wholesaler sentenced to 2,5 years jail

Willy Selten, the boss of two companies involved in the 2013 Horse Meat Scandal was judged for allegedly selling 300 tonnes of horse meat labelled as beef.

The wholesaler has been recognised guilty of forging invoices, labels and written declarations and using these forged documents to trade meat. 33 examples of false accounts, including at least one statement where meat was processed as "100 percent beef" were found.

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VIER PFOTEN held an Expert workshop on stray animals in Europe

From left: Andrea Gavinelli (Head of Unit G3 Animal Welfare European Commission), Elisabeth Jeggle (Member of the European Parliament), Christoph Maisack (Deputy Animal Welfare Commissioner State of Baden-Württemberg), Marlene Wartenberg ( Director European Policy Office VIER PFOTEN), Paolo Dalla Villa (Unit 3G Animal Welfare European Commission) 

© Natascha Dolezal


European expert round on companion animals demands better treatment of stray animals

In the frame of an expert workshop on stray animals in Europe, organised by the International animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS and the Representation of the State Baden-Württemberg to the EU, representatives of the EU institutions, the Member States and relevant stakeholders declared the need for better protection of stray animals in Europe.

The ongoing mistreatments of stray animals in Europe, especially in Romania since September 2013, urge European decision makers to take action. This stands in contradiction to the Treaty of Lisbon where the principle of animal welfare is anchored in the status of animals as sentient beings, giving us humans full responsibility for the animals who are our fellow creatures.

The workshop aimed to bring together relevant decision makers and representatives from the Member States to discuss feasible and sustainable programmes around Europe to control canine and feline population, the respect of the right to live of these animals as well as human and animal health and welfare issues.

The participants agreed that the protection of the weakest members of our society is a characteristic European value and that the killing of unwanted healthy dogs and cats in Europe does not correspondend with our understanding of the human-animal relationship in Europe of the 21st century.

The happenings in Romania have been criticised heavily by all participants. The way how stray dogs are treated like at the moment in Romania stands in clear conflict to the Rule of Law and is infringing our European values.


That, in fact, there are effective, humane and sustainable ways to deal with the problem of unwanted stray animals, has been proven through several examples of other Member States  like Belgium, Bulgaria and Italy. Thanks to the political will of these countries governments, they have national structured stray dog and stray cat programmes to reach a balanced number of animals. These programmes are always based on a multiannual plan inlcuding systematic birth control, veterinary care inlcuding vaccinations, mandatory identification and registration for all dogs and cats and close coopration with NGOs. This ‘responsible ownership’ package was the only accepted succesful strategy throughout all presentations.  



The result of the workshop is a common declaration of all participants, asking the responsible actors of the EU institutions and the Member States to improve the protection and welfare of stray animals in Europe and public safety, and to fulfil their duties within the frame of their work.




Ukraine: Animals in Zoos are suffering of the political crisis

Animals are starving in Ukrainian Zoos since the beginning of the political crisis due to a lack of monney to take care of them.

Ex-President Viktor Yanukovych's private zoo, with over two thousand animals, was abandoned when he fled the country in February. Although the condition of the facility in Kiev is beautiful and modern, the animals are completely without food and there are reports that some of the animals have been stolen by looters 

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Puppy Trade in Europe: the presentations of the EU Parliament event and the VIER PFOTEN report

On 26 November 2013, FOUR PAWS International in support of the European Policy Office of FOUR PAWS hold a lunch debate in the European Parliament on Puppy Trade in Europe. The occasion was the launch of FOUR PAWS' research on the impact of illegal businesses on the market, on consumers, on the one-health concept and on animal welfare.

Keynote speakers were the Members of the European Parliament, Marit Paulsen and Elisabeth Jeggle (Rapporteur and shadow-rapporteur of the draft Animal Health Law). More than 40 participants joined the debate. 


Here are all the relevant documents:



The VIER PFOTEN Report on Puppy Trade in Europe





© Regina Jehle


26.11.2013 Brussels, "Puppy Trade in Europe: A lack of traceability, threat to the European Market and One Health"

This event is organized by VIER PFOTEN International

Date: 26 November 2013, 11.30h – 13.00h,

Location:  European Parliament, room ASP A3F383

New Chapter for Companion Animals in Europe: the European Commission’s first conference on the welfare of dogs and cats

update: conclusions and the video of the conference are now available here:

The European Commission’s first conference on the welfare of dogs and cats, “Building a Europe that cares for companion animals”, took place yesterday in Brussels, with an encouraging consensus and perspective. VIER PFOTEN welcomes this door-opening event. 

Brussels/City, 29 th October 2013. The goal of the conference was to identify and tackle the key issues concerning dogs and cats in the European Union. For this purpose more than 470 stakeholders from government authorities, animal welfare organisations and those with a professional and personal interest came together yesterday to discuss and reflect on practical considerations relating to companion animal welfare.

With over a hundred million owned animals, dogs and cats are the most popular companion animals in Europe, kept for companionship or services. The growing number of these animals has generated a major industry including, for example, pet food and medicines. Unfortunately, there is also another kind of grey and black market of pure breed puppies produced in so-called “puppy mills” under the poorest conditions, and an increasing illegal trade causing severe problems for animal health and welfare, for public health and for consumers, and creating market distortion. Moreover, in some Member States there are severe problems of uncontrolled reproduction of abandoned dogs and cats.

While the EU has no legal competences in this last field, the first stage in improving the commercial and health aspects of dogs and cats will be a study. However, the EU can develop further measures to provide the Member States with tools to create a common European understanding of animal welfare and responsible ownership, such as a compatible system of Identification and Registration in Europe. 

Some well-functioning models of national legislation and national organisation relating to companion animals were pointed out, and an urgent need for measures to put into practice the principle of “Responsible Ownership” emerged clearly. These measures included: precise legislation with clear competences, information and education, a mandatory Identification and Registration system, nationwide mid- and long-term neutering programs for population control instead of killing, rules for shelters and for keeping companion animals, and a culture of adoption instead of buying animals from dubious sources. 

“The recent Animal Welfare Law of Lithuania is the first national animal welfare law linked expressly to the European principle laid down in Art. 13 Lisbon Treaty.  A responsible ownership for all animals is one of the effects of this ethical principle. As dogs and cats are the animals living closest to humans, a European culture of Responsible Ownership can be developed well by starting with these animals and implementing a Europe-wide compatible system of Identification and Registration for all dogs.” stated Marlene Wartenberg, Director of VIER PFOTEN’s European Policy Office in Brussels.
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