The most effective way to protect animals over the long term is to improve legal frameworks. In Europe, citizens have long demanded the better protection of animal welfare, as demonstrated in the Special Eurobarometer 442 survey published by the European Commission in 2016. The FOUR PAWS European Policy Office is attempting to achieve this goal by means of direct action and lobbying at national, European and international levels and by appealing to the general public.
The Lisbon Treaty, which came into force in 2009, for the first time acknowledged that animals are sentient beings in Article 13 of the ‘Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union’ (TFEU):
In formulating and implementing the Union's agriculture, fisheries, transport, internal market, research and technological development and space policies, the Union and the Member States shall, since animals are sentient beings, pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals, while respecting the legislative or administrative provisions and customs of the Member States relating in particular to religious rites, cultural traditions and regional heritage.
Article 13 of TFEU
Article 13 of TFEU gave the EU the opportunity to become a global leader in terms of animal welfare and to develop corresponding legislation. In addition, the EU Animal Welfare Strategy 2012-15 – finalised in 2019 after a full further mandate – has ensured the sustainability of Europe’s leading role in animal welfare. In 2017, the European Commission decided to set up a platform to facilitate the implementation of EU animal welfare legislation. On an International level, organisations such as the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) are becoming more and more active in regulating animal welfare worldwide.
These developments demonstrate the relevance of working with policymakers on all levels. In the 21st century, is it more pressing than ever to improve the welfare of animals worldwide. As a member of the EU Platform on Animal Welfare interacting directly with industry representatives and national authorities to improve the enforcement of EU laws – along with lobbying national, EU and international institutions – the EPO is the voice of FOUR PAWS in the area of policymaking.
- Support FOUR PAWS policy action and enforcement campaigns: https://www.four-paws.org/campaigns-topics/campaigns.
- See more information on EU animal welfare laws, enforcement and the policymaking process in the EU at: http://www.lawyersforanimalprotection.eu/