Cloning of farm animals: outcomes from EP first reading

Outcome of the European Parliament's first reading (7 to 10 September 2015)
Information Note From the General Secretariat of the Council to the Permanent Representatives Committee/Council on the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on
the cloning of animals of the bovine, porcine, ovine, caprine and equine species kept and reproduced for farming purposes

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.




Ban on trade in seal products: MEPs vote on EC’s proposal to fortify it

The Internal Market committee of the EP speaks out on seals product trade

MEPs voted for the elimination of the possibility to trade EU products within the EU for hunts conducted for the purpose of the sustainable management of marine resources on a small scale and non-profit basis  (MRM hunts), while keeping the possibility to trade such products by Inuit or other indigenous communities only respecting animal welfare.



In 2009, the EU Seal Regulation (EC 1007/2009) was adopted, prohibiting the placing on the EU market of seal products, in response to concerns of EU citizens regarding animal welfare. The Regulation contains two exceptions: the first is for products derived from hunts conducted by Inuit or other indigenous communities (IC exception); and the second is for hunts conducted for the purpose of the sustainable management of marine resources on a small scale and non-profit basis (MRM exception).

Canada and Norway challenged the Regulation in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute on EC – Measures Prohibiting the Importation and Marketing of Seal Products (DS400 and DS401). The WTO considered the general ban on seal products justified for moral concerns regarding animal welfare, but found the two exceptions from the general rule problematic. In particular, the WTO judged that the two exceptions lead a discriminatory treatment of Canadian and Norwegian seal products. Despite MRM hunts being small in scale and not profit-oriented, the Panel considered that the differences between those hunts and the bigger commercial hunts were not sufficient to justify a different treatment.

Therefore, the EU has to modify its current regime in order bring its Regulation into compliance with WTO rules. Thus, the Commission proposed an amendment to the current Regulation on trade in seal products.

Regarding the MRM exception, the EC proposal removes such exception the MRM exception.

Regarding the IC exception, the proposal links the use of the exception to the respect of animal welfare: it is “conditional upon those hunts being conducted in a manner which reduces pain, distress, fear or other forms of suffering of the animals hunted to the extent possible”, and provides for a mechanism that would help prevent its misuse.

Moreover, the IC exception should be limited to hunts that contribute to the subsistence need of those communities and are thus not conducted for commercial purposes. Thus, the Commission should be enabled to limit, if necessary, the quantity of seal products placed on the market.


The EC proposal was voted at the beginning of June by the Internal Market Committee within the European Parliament, where MEPs ruled out EU sales of seal products from MRM hunts, while keeping the IC exception and linking it to the respect of animal welfare.


Next steps

Soon the rapporteur will start informal talks with the Council of Ministers on the final shape of the legislation.

Four Paws encourages the EC’s proposal to comply with the WTO ruling, and promotes its adoption for the benefit of seals’ welfare.


The EC proposal:


The EP press release:


Motion for a European Parliament resolution on a ban on importing angora fur and rabbit hides from China


by MEPs Sophie Montel, Dominique Bilde, Mireille D'Ornano, Florian Philippot

 Motion for a European Parliament resolution on a ban on importing angora fur and rabbit hides from China   


The European Parliament,

–       having regard to Council Directive 98/58/EC of 20 July 1998 concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes,

–       having regard to the European Parliament resolution of 4 July 2012 on the European Union Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012–2015,

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

A.     whereas the volume of imports of angora fur and rabbit hides from China to the European Union is constantly rising;

B.     whereas China does not have the same standards (animal welfare, environment) in fur farming as the EU;

C.     whereas a great many animal welfare associations have denounced the abominable conditions in which rabbits are farmed in China (angora rabbits skinned alive rather than clipping or plucking them, just to save time);

D.     whereas owing to pressure from consumers, a great many ready-to-wear brands have decided to stop using rabbit fur from China;

1.      Calls for a ban on importing angora fur and rabbit hides from China into the European Union;

2.      Instructs its President to forward this resolution, together with the names of the signatories, to the Commission, the Council and the Member States.


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:


Transposition of the Directive on use of animals for scientific purposes

According to the EU Commission, all 28 Member States have now transposed into their national legislation the requirements of the Directive 2010/63/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2010 on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes (into force since January 2013)

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New rules on labelling of fresh, chilled or frozen meat from sheep, goats, pigs and poultry

Up from 1 April 2015, the new rules on labelling of fresh, chilled or frozen meat from sheep, goats, pigs and poultry implemented by Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on the provision of food information to consumers have come into force.

These new rules require the mandatory labelling of "place of rearing" and "place of slaughter" for fresh, chilled or frozen meats from sheep, goats, pigs and poultry.

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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