Europe’s Forgotten Animals – No Longer!
On 4th July 2012, a crucial vote of the European Parliament finally secured better future protection for wild animals in captivity. This momentous conclusion took two years of relentless work by ENDCAP and now ensures the welfare of this category of animal is recognised by the European Community opening up opportunities to apply higher standards of animal care.
In November 2008, ENDCAP launched the initiative ‘Europe’s Forgotten Animals’ to raise greater public awareness about the plight of captive wild animals and push for higher welfare standards. Our launch coincided with a review of the European Union’s Strategy for Animal Welfare 2006 – 2010, which had previously only recognised and sought to protect animals farmed for food and those used by laboratories. ENDCAP was intent on ensuring the EU Strategy for Animal Welfare 2012-2015 would include all animals, including wild animals in captivity (zoos, circuses, individual animals, etc.).
Following over 24 visits to Brussels and countless hours in consultation with numerous Members of the European Parliament and Member State Competent Authorities with the policy team at the European Commission and with the Parliamentary Rapporteur, Marit Paulsen MEP, every individual milestone was achieved, culminating in the Plenary Vote at the European Parliament 4th July 2012. The result was outstanding: 574 ‘For’ and 82 ‘Against’ the new EU Strategy for Animal Welfare 2012-2015, and at last Europe’s Forgotten Animals are forgotten no longer!
The European Parliament’s Report and the Council’s Conclusions mean that the new Strategy:
- Recognises that the welfare of animals in zoos must be improved, together with the overall enforcement of the EC Zoos Directive.
- Includes the development of the Commission’s “Preferred Code of Practice for Zoos” to include best practice guidance on the appropriate keeping of animals of wild species in captivity.
- Also includes a requirement that the animal welfare provisions of the EU Wildlife Trade Regulation (EC) No 338/97 must be improved.
- Recognises that information about animal welfare must be made available at regional and local level, through regional workshops and the use of modern technology.
- Welcomes the potential development of European Animal Welfare framework legislation which will more effectively target existing animal welfare legislation and include all animals.
Clearly, the vote represents a major step forward in delivering greatly improved animal welfare provisions. Without the constant and committed support of Born Free’s supporters, our Activate team, the Members of ENDCAP, many MEPS, EU Permanent Representatives, members of the European Commission, such progress would not have been possible. Only three words will suffice: thank you all.