European Parliament votes in favour of new standards for animals in Europe.
On 5th May, in a decisive vote, the European Parliament in Brussels backed the Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals that will define the future of animal protection in Europe. The majority of Members of the European Parliament voted to establish the 5-year Action Plan proposing improved welfare standards for all animals under the control of human beings in the Europe Union.
Welcomed by the European coalition of NGOs, ENDCAP, that works to improve the protection of wild animals in captivity in countries throughout Europe, the Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals, for the first time, will include the protection of wild animals in zoos and circuses.
Daniel Turner, spokesperson for ENDCAP, stated,
“The European public is acutely aware of the poor conditions endured by millions of animals kept in zoos, circuses, dolphinaria and kept as pets throughout Europe. The sub-standard conditions that ENDCAP works tirelessly to address, have mainly resulted from an inability by Governments to effectively enforce existing legislation”, explains Mr. Turner. “ENDCAP’s investigations have revealed that a lack of relevant knowledge and expertise by the competent authorities has meant that levels in animal welfare, particularly for wild animals in captivity, remain low. The Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals will help to facilitate knowledge and create a common understanding of animal welfare and how to apply it.”
Although the EC Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals is not legislation, it does set the framework for future progress by recognising that high quality animal protection is required for all animals, regardless of their circumstances.
The European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development had already recommended that animal welfare be considered as central to all future EU policy-making. The Committee Report by Marit Paulsen MEP also recommended the establishment of an Animal Welfare Law and a European Network of Reference Centres that will ensure all animals are provided their basic welfare needs, regardless of the way they are used.
ENDCAP’s lobbying at the European Parliament over the last 12 months has proved remarkably successful. The vote yesterday will ensure that the new Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2011-2015 will aim to improve welfare standards for “all livestock and animals in captivity, such as food-producing animals, pets, circus animals and animals in zoos or stray animals” in Europe and beyond.
“I’m feeling quite overwhelmed, this is incredible” concluded spokesperson for the Born Free Foundation and ENDCAP Coordinator, Daniel Turner. “Born Free together with our ENDCAP colleagues have been working flat-out in Brussels and throughout Europe to ensure we have support from European Members of Parliament. The positive vote demonstrates that European citizens are united in their wish to finally see an end to slum conditions in zoos.”
Notes to Editors:
Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals
The vote, in support of the EC Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals took place during the Plenary of the European Parliament, in Brussels on 5th May 2010.
Once approved, the EC Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals will support and encourage competent authorities to improve standards of animal welfare and protection in European Member States, and in countries beyond the European Union.
Both the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals have acknowledged that animal welfare is an ethical and moral issue that the European Community should uphold (Article 13 of the EC Treaty). In summary, the following has been agreed:
- There needs to be a common understanding of “animal welfare” and how the delivery of good or adequate animal welfare can be achieved by referring to the “Five Principals” adopted by the World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE).
- The EC Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals should represent and encourage the wellbeing of all animals (“all livestock and animals in captivity, such as food-producing animals, pets, circus animals and animals in zoos or stray animals”).
Following the Parliamentary vote, the European Commission will seek the public opinion through a Public Consultation, and then draft a new Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals for 2011 – 2015. This will then be discussed again by Parliament and the Council before it is adopted in 2011.
If approved, the Action Plan for 2011-2015 would clearly articulate the actions necessary over the next 5 years to make a more harmonised and more compassionate approach a reality.
ENDCAP, the coalition of NGOs specialising in the protection and welfare of wild animals in captivity, has published a report, “Animal Welfare Excellence in Europe” revealing that animals in European zoos are still kept in sub-standard conditions.
For more information visit the Born Free Foundation website: www.bornfree.org.uk/campaigns/zoo-check/travellers-animal-alert/issues-of-concern/apr-10-dolphin-fall-victim/apr-10-europe-animal-welfare/
About Born Free
The Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity, devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare. Born Free takes action worldwide to protect threatened species and stop individual animal suffering. Born Free believes wildlife belongs in the wild and works to phase-out zoos. We rescue animals from lives of misery in tiny cages and give them lifetime care.
Born Free protects lions, elephants, tigers, gorillas, wolves, polar bears, dolphins, marine turtles and many more species in their natural habitat, working with local communities to help people and wildlife live together without conflict. Our high-profile campaigns change public attitudes, persuade decision-makers and get results. Every year, Born Free helps hundreds of thousands of animals worldwide. For more information about Born Free please visit: www.bornfree.org.uk
Born Free, on behalf of ENDCAP, continues to meet with Members of the European Parliament, the European Commission and representatives of the 27 European countries in Brussels to further secure their commitment to the protection of wild animals in captivity, previously marginalised. It is evident from ENDCAP’s recent major investigation of Europe’s zoos that many thousands of animals are kept in sub-standard conditions.
ENDCAP is a coalition of over 30 Non-Government Organisations from over 20 European countries. Working within European countries and in Brussels, ENDCAP seeks to improve the lives of wild animals in zoos, circuses, dolphinaria, sanctuaries and those kept as pets through scientific investigation, campaigning and education. For more information on ENDCAP, www.endcap.eu
The Born Free Foundation is a founder member of the European coalition, ENDCAP, which is soon to publish a series of reports that expose the sub-standard conditions prevalent in zoos across Europe. The investigation has identified that ‘animal welfare’ is poorly understood and inconsistently applied by European governments and this appears to be undermining the effective implementation and enforcement of existing animal protection laws. The EC Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals is an important initiative that will improve knowledge and expertise and so will help guarantee the effective protection of all animals in Europe. www.bornfree.org.uk