Final vote of the Animal Health Law


FOUR PAWS welcomes this new legislation as a first step to establish EU mandatory identification and registration of companion animals

Brussels, 08.03.2016. On 8th March 2016, the Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council on transmissible animal diseases and amending and repealing certain acts in the area of animal health (“Animal Health Law”) was voted in the European Parliament by a broad majority. The text initially introduced in 2013 by the European Commission, has undergone significant changes, and was massively commented for the absence of animal welfare provisions. In particular, FOUR PAWS initiated a campaign entitled “Wild? Me?” two years ago in order to change the critical definition contained in this legislation, which was aiming to consider domestic animals as wild animals when they have no owner or are abandoned.

Continue reading Final vote of the Animal Health Law


MEPs vote in favour for the introduction of mandatory identification and registration of dogs and cats in Europe

FOUR PAWS welcomes this important step towards greater traceability of companion animals in Europe

Today, by a clear majority, a Joint Motion for a Resolution on the introduction of compatible systems for the registration of pet animals across Member States has been voted by the EU Parliament, during its Brussels plenary session.

Continue reading MEPs vote in favour for the introduction of mandatory identification and registration of dogs and cats in Europe


New campaign of Eurogroup for Animals: 'Protect our Pets'

9 September 2015

Eurogroup for Animals has launched a major new campaign to improve the welfare of Europe’s cats and dogs. The Protect Our Pets campaign tackles the growing, underground and illegal pet trade in Europe once and for all.

Today pets are being traded illegally within Europe. This illegal trade severely impacts upon the health and welfare of the animals involved. Many are born in inhumane circumstances, are poorly socialised, transported great distances, and all too often at great risk contracting diseases. Unsuspecting owners buy these pets, often on-line, and are regularly left heartbroken when things go wrong. This needs to stop!

The campaign uses multi-media tools and social network channels to spread the message and the Protect Our Pets campaign urges members of the public to call for pets across Europe to be properly identified and registered, and therefore linked to an owner.  A dedicated website has also been set up to facilitate members of the public contacting their MEPs and calling for action now>

“We want to make the invisible, visible. We want to close the loopholes that allow this trade to flourish, and to ensure that dogs, cats and other pets are protected, both from the trade itself, and from the serious disease and behavioural risks that threaten the health and welfare of all animals and owners alike,” stated Reineke Hameleers, Director of Eurogroup for Animals.

To achieve this Eurogroup for Animals is working actively with the European parliament and in particular Renate Sommer MEP who pushed forward an initiative for a Motion for a Resolution asking the European Commission to mandate the introduction of harmonised national systems for the identification and registration of pets in each Member State, based on the system which has been adopted for equines.

The campaign also calls on members of the public to urge their elected MEPs to write to Commissioner Andriukaitis, the Commissioner in charge of Animal welfare calling for the harmonisation of identification and registration requirements for pets across the EU.

"It is increasingly clear that as long as we have a patchwork of systems for pet identification and registration, the illegal trade in pets will flourish in Europe. We need effective ways to trace ownership cross border, and this requires harmonisation of identification and registration requirements at national level,” stated Renate Sommer MEP.

"It is time for pets – dogs, cats, and exotic pets too – to be recognised as legitimate animal and public health concerns. The European Commission has a clear role to play in the prevention and management of veterinary public health issues. That's why I am determined to see that the European Parliament as a whole adopts a Resolution, calling for the Commission to use its powers in this area. It's time to ensure that Europe's pets are properly protected," she concluded.


A curfew for Swiss Cats ?

Facing the problem of cat overpopulation, the Swiss authorities would like to implement a new very strict legislation including mandatory sterilisation, a one-cat policy and even a curfew for cats having outdoor access. Currently it is estimated 1,4 Million of cats in Switzerland.

The scientific and legal platform CAROcat created in 2013, promotes responsible ownership of cats through sterilisation, identification and registration, veterinary care but fore and foremost education. For more information, please visit This new prject of legislation is partially embracing these basic elements.

More on


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.




Scotland: A summit to discuss ways to better protect the public from dangerous dogs

The event was hosted in Edinburgh by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill and brought together organisations including Police Scotland, the Dogs Trust, Guide Dogs Scotland, the Kennel Club, local authorities and the Scottish SPCA

It aims to discuss how responsible ownership can help to solve the "dangerous dog" issue and to decrease dog attacks. Identification and Registration has been recognised as an effective measure for this purpose.

More information on