New EU Strategy on Animal Welfare Fails Animals and EU Citizens

Thursday, 19 January, 2012
Brussels, Belgium

“Even where the concerns of Europeans and the scope of this strategy overlap, such as the welfare of dogs and cats, the results are disappointing,” O’Donnell continued. “The European Commission was clearly mandated by the Council Conclusions on the welfare of dogs and cats of 29th Nov 2010 to investigate different aspects of the welfare of companion animals but the result, a study planned for 2014, is underwhelming to say the least.”The EU’s new Animal Welfare strategy published today is a missed opportunity for the Commission to show global leadership in animal welfare by bringing coherence to the welfare of animals impacted by EU policies, much to the dismay of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - www.ifaw.org). The strategy, which is supposed to address and improve the welfare of animals until 2015, addresses only those animals which might be seen as ‘property’ such as livestock, animals used in testing or wild animals kept captive in zoos.

“IFAW welcomes the commitment to more public information and education on animal issues and to the further inclusion of animal welfare in international trade and cooperation. The proposed network of expertise and increased attention on enforcement of existing legislation are also positive steps,” said Lesley O’Donnell, IFAW’s EU Director.
“Unfortunately this strategy ignores animals in the wild. All animals need a champion within the Commission and DG Sanco should be that champion. With this strategy it has failed to speak up for a large proportion of animals and in particular wild animals threatened by human exploitation.”

The commission’s own 2006 survey showed the vast majority of EU citizens are in favour of greater animal welfare standards.

“Even where the concerns of Europeans and the scope of this strategy overlap, such as the welfare of dogs and cats, the results are disappointing,” O’Donnell continued. “The European Commission was clearly mandated by the Council Conclusions on the welfare of dogs and cats of 29th Nov 2010 to investigate different aspects of the welfare of companion animals but the result, a study planned for 2014, is underwhelming to say the least.”

About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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