During the Council’s Agriculture and Fisheries session held on 15th February 2016, the European Council welcomed the idea of creating an EU animal welfare platform, suggested by the German, Swedish, Danish and Dutch delegations.
In December 2014, the ministers in charge of Animal Welfare of Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands wrote a Joint Declaration calling on the EU Commission and in particular the EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Mr Andriukaitis, to establish an EU Platform for Animal Welfare. In April 2015, during a conference on Pig Welfare organized in Copenhagen, the Swedish minister of Rural Affairs joined the ministers of Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands to call for the establishment of an EU Platform for Animal Welfare. Together they wrote a position paper on the necessity to establish such a platform, and the possible ways to do it. Today, the position paper was discussed in the Agriculture and Fisheries Council and gained support from the Council.
The aim of this platform would be to create a space for discussion and exchange of knowledge, experience and best practices on animal welfare between the diverse stakeholders and the EU Institutions. The overall goal would be to strengthen animal welfare at both the national and EU level.
"We welcome this initiative that could help to improve the consistency in the approach of the EU institutions toward animal welfare, as well as better enforcement at national level. There is a desperate need to exchange best practices between all stakeholders and where needed to get the chance to translate them into EU legislation. Today we also face the problem that animal welfare is dispersed among many Directorate Generals in the EU Commission, preventing a sustainable and consistent animal welfare approach in the EU. For this reason, the EU platform could also integrate the idea of a ‘one-stop-shop for animal welfare’."
Pierre Sultana, Director of the VIER PFOTEN / FOUR PAWS European Policy Office
Already in 2015, together with 41 other animal welfare organisations, FOUR PAWS signed an open letter aiming to support both the Joint Declaration on the creation of an EU Animal Welfare Platform, and the Written Declaration No. 22/2015 of 27 May 2015 on a one-stop-shop for animal welfare.
Following today’s support by the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, EU Commissioner Andriukaitis announced that meetings will be organised with stakeholders and Member States regarding the establishment of the platform. FOUR PAWS will closely monitor the situation.
- Webcast of the 15.02.2016 debate in the AgriFish Council.
- The position paper by the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Denmark of January 2016.
- The Copenhagen Pig Welfare Conference of April 2015 and the resulting Pig Welfare position paper.
- The Joint Declaration on Animal Welfare of December 2014.
FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, orangutans and elephants – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in twelve countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org