Campaign to Protect the EU’s Dogs and Cats
Istanbul, Turkey – At the Annual International Companion Animal Welfare Conference (ICAWC) in Istanbul, Turkey last week Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, launched the EU Dog and Cat Alliance amid concerns that the European Union’s 61 million owned dogs and 66 million owned cats benefit from very little legislation protecting their health and welfare.
“We hope that the Alliance will bring greater cohesion on commercial breeding, trade and movements across member states and promote better standards for all EU based dogs and cats” announced Dogs Trust Chief Executive and founder, Clarissa Baldwin OBE at the conference now in its 16th year. ICAWC is the leading conference of its kind with an attendance 241 delegates from 41 countries working in the field of animal welfare. Over the course of the conference last week workshops and talks were given on subjects ranging from shelter building, stress in cats, tackling rabies and stray animal issues.
Yet, the most important development at this year’s conference was the creation of the EU Dog and Cat Alliance whose main task will be to lobby the European Union in introducing and improving legislation for the welfare of dogs and cats in areas such as consumer protection, public health and internal markets as well as to provide a forum for the sharing of information and gathering of evidence of various related issues. Such issues will include:
Commercial Breeding and Trade
Puppies and kittens are bred for commercial purposes but welfare standards vary widely among member states, which can result in serious welfare difficulties and contraventions.
Movements Across Borders
The main aim here will be to provide more efficient monitoring and managing of movements of animals for trade across EU borders, and from third party countries, especially from the East.
Veterinary Medicines and Medicated Feed
Even though the current licensing system for veterinary medicines in Europe is rigorous it is also complex and there is a lack of cohesion between member states, which has led to inefficiencies. The EU therefore cannot be described as having a ‘single market’ for veterinary medicines. According to the Alliance website “this is of concern because the availability of safe, efficacious veterinary medicines across all EU Member States is vital to protecting both animal health and public health.” The Alliance proposes the introduction of a true single market. This will not only improve the availability to protect animals but contribute also to public health.
In a post-conference press release, Baldwin stated that she “is overwhelmed by the positive response to the EU Dog and Cat Alliance” and is thrilled to report that already 14 organizations have signed up as members… “and we look forward to welcoming further members on board.” Dogs Trust European Policy Advisor, Claire Calder, informed this reporter that since the conference more organizations have signed on.
Membership is open to registered charities and not-for-profit organisations from across the EU, which are involved in the rescue/rehoming of dogs and cats, or working to protect their welfare. To find out more about the EU Dog and Cat Alliance and its work, see www.dogandcatwelfare.eu or tweet them at @EUdogsandcats. The Alliance is funded by the UK charity and founding member, Dogs Trust. Members will not be asked to contribute a membership fee to join the Alliance but may, on occasion, be asked to help sponsor or fund specific research, events or initiatives if they so wish.