The Council supports the idea of creating an EU Animal Welfare Platform

FOUR PAWS welcomes the European Council’s support to the idea of creating an EU Animal Welfare Platform

During its Council Agriculture and Fisheries session held on 15th February 2016, the European Council has welcomed the idea to create an EU animal welfare platform, suggested by the German, Swedish, Danish and Dutch delegations.

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Animal Welfare Police launched in Bulgaria

Bulgaria has taken the first steps towards the establishment of an animal welfare police service. By a decree of the Minister of the Interior, each regional police department will assign 2 policemen who will be specialized in investigating animal-related crimes. This was announced last Thursday at a press-conference in Bulgarian parliament by Mr. Emil Radev, MEP and member the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals. A further agreement between the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food will also be signed in connection with the establishment of the unit, since the Animal Protection Act is within the jurisdiction of the agricultural authority.

Mr. Radev was confident that the specialized units will help speed up the process of investigation of crimes against animals. Currently less than 20% of all registered crimes against animals since 2011 have been resolved, according to official statistics. The animal welfare police officers will undergo trainings, organized together with animal welfare charities.

FOUR PAWS, who have been campaigning actively for a specialized unit for investigation of animal-related crimes, welcome the launching of the animal welfare police in Bulgaria. According to Yavor Gechev, Head of Communications of FOUR PAWS Bulgaria, the establishment of animal welfare police is important not only for the protection of the animals, but also for the development of civic society in this country, as there is a close link between cruelty to animals and crimes against people. The organization is ready to provide assistance to the Bulgarian authorities with the training of the new unit by organizing seminars and inviting guest lecturers from countries where similar units already exist.

Within this new animal police, Bulgaria became the fourth European country, and third EU Country to have such a dedicated police.

Such a dedicated unit has existed in the Netherlands since 2011: “The Animal Cops” with a dedicated hotline to report abuses. Since this date, the Netherlands has had a special office to deal with several animal welfare issues including animal cruelty, animal negligence, illegal trade and zoophilia.

In 2014, The Belgium region Wallonia has improved its system by creating a special animal unit and by creating an online formulary to report animal abuse.

This year, in Norway, the country’s government has announced plans to set up a police force for animals. As a pilot project, the police will be tested for three years, and if the results are conclusive, the project might become more permanent.

We can also mention Italy which has a dedicated police "Corpo Forestale dello Stato" responsible for enforcing poaching laws, safeguarding protected animal species and preventing forest fires. But it doesn't concern all animals.

The creation of animal police is not only helping the animals, but also has positive impacts on prevention of violence toward humans. Therefore we hope that in a near future more countries will follow this good example and stop to consider animal crimes as secondary.


Pig Welfare: Ministers from Germany, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands request a revision of the EU Directive

Brussels/Copenhagen. 29 April 2015

FOUR PAWS welcomes this strong political common will to improve pig welfare in the EU

Yesterday, during the International Conference on Pig Welfare taking place in Copenhagen, a joint position paper requesting the revision of Council Directive 2008/120/EC laying down minimum standards for the protection of pigs has been signed by Ministers from Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark.

Already in December 2014, the agricultural ministers of Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark have committed themselves into a joint declaration to improve animal welfare in Europe, and to update the EU legislation with the last scientific improvements. The yesterday’s declaration on pig welfare, is a first step in reaching the goals fixed in 2014.

In particular, the three ministers, joined by the Sweden Minister, are asking for : the reduction of the number of tail docked pigs, no castration without anesthesia, mandatory group housing systems for all pregnant sows and further developments of loose-housing for sows in the farrowing pen.

The agricultural Danish Minister Dan Jørgensen, also former MEP, declared: “A pig is an intelligent sentient being, and should be treated as such”. 

Following this joint declaration, the Commission is encouraged to initiate further studies on this subject, and subsequently draw up guidelines.


Please find the position paper here: Pig position paper 29.04.2015

More on the 2014 Animal Welfare Declaration here:

Website of the IPW Event:


Joint Declaration on Animal Welfare

On December 14th 2014, the Ministries of Netherlands, Denmark and Germany have co-written and signed a joint declaration on animal welfare aiming to improve animal welfare in the EU. The three countries are calling all the other Member States to sign it also.

Please find here the joint declaration: Animal Welfare Declaration


An EU study on the possibility of providing consumers with information on the stunning of animals

On 15th July 2013, the Council of Minister has been briefed by the Netherlands on the issue of labelling of meat from animals slaughtered without stunning. More consummer information is asked by the Netherlands, and this request has been supported by other Member States.  EU Commission answered that a study on the possibility of providing consumers with information on the stunning of animals is on-going and will be published in April 2014.

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