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BREAKING: Three Key Developments for Animal Welfare in the EU 

FOUR PAWS comments on the European Commission's proposal for a new regulation on pets, its proposal to revise EU rules on the protection of animals during transport, and its official response to the Fur Free Europe ECI - all published today.


European Commission publishes last-minute proposal on Pets

FOUR PAWS welcomes new move to finally tackle illegal pet trade. 

The proposed regulation is set to tackle the illegal pet trade by introducing mandatory identification and registration rules with database interoperability, as well as regulation of breeding activities (size of enclosures, enrichment and time with mothers). It also includes measures for the regulation of online trade, to address the anonymity of online sellers. 

Commenting today on the Commission’s proposal on pets published alongside the Coordinated Control Plan on Illegal Movement of Pets report, Georgia Diamantopoulou, Companion Animal Policy Coordinator at FOUR PAWS said: 

“This is fantastic. After extensive work with the European Commission on the Coordinated Control Plan on Illegal Movement of Pets which shows just how extensive, rife, and cruel the illegal pet trade business is, we fully welcome this proposal as a result. FOUR PAWS’ presence in Brussels was first established in 2007 to achieve exactly this. This is the realisation of a mission for us. 

“So far, legislative loopholes have allowed for the illegal pet trade to thrive. We hope the new rules will close them and facilitate the work of enforcement authorities. 

“We are now looking to work with Member States and Members of European Parliament during legislative deliberations to widen the scope of this regulation so that it’s not just cats and dogs that are protected from the illegal pet trade, but also exotic pets.” 

 Georgia Diamantopoulou, Companion Animal Policy Coordinator at FOUR PAWS

European Commission publishes new rules on Live Transport

FOUR PAWS welcomes new rules on transport but highlights lack of ambition. 

The long-awaited proposal for revisions to the EU live animal transport rules addresses the exposure of animals to extreme temperatures, excessively long transport hours, and the transportation of vulnerable individuals such as pregnant females and unweaned calves as young as 2 weeks old. 

But the proposal's failure to advocate for a ban on live export and on the transport of unweaned animals is a major point of contention as this practice remains a grave concern that demands urgent attention. The proposed revisions, while a step in the right direction, are viewed as insufficient to effectively combat the widespread issues faced by animals during transportation. 

Commenting today on the new legislative proposal from the European Commission on the protection of animals during transport, Joe Moran, Director of FOUR PAWS’ European Policy Office said: 

"While it's great to see a proposal on live transport, it is not necessarily so great to see this proposal. It simply lacks the bold ambition needed to address the significant pitfalls in current live animal transport practices. Most notably, the proposal falls short by not including a ban on live export to third countries, a practice that subjects animals to excruciatingly torturous journeys, ultimately culminating in a cruel and painful slaughter upon arrival. 

“This proposal was supposed to break the broken cycle of previous ‘reforms’ and overhaul current practices. Instead, we have a proposal that seeks to do the same thing that the current law does, and the law before that, and the one before that. What was it that Einstein said about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? 

“We now count on allies in the European Parliament and Council to help to radically amend this proposal so that we end up with an act that does what it actually claims to do – protect animals during live transport.” 

Joe Moran, Director of FOUR PAWS’ European Policy Office

European Commission responds to Fur Free Europe ECI

FOUR PAWS welcomes response as step forward towards a ban on fur farming and sales in the EU. 

The European Commission’s response includes a request to EFSA to provide a scientific opinion by 2025 to make an informed opinion on a possible prohibition of fur farming and placement of fur products on the Single Market. 

Currently, 20 Member States have already totally or partially banned fur farming on grounds of animal welfare and public health, but the European Union remains one of the main regions for fur production globally. 

Every year millions of animals (mainly mink, foxes and raccoon dogs) are legally confined in small wire mesh cages and killed to produce unnecessary, easily replaceable fur articles. 1.5 million EU citizens have asked to end this cruel practice by introducing an EU-wide prohibition of fur farming and sales of farmed fur products. 

Commenting today on the Commission’s highly anticipated response to the European Citizen’s Initiative to ban fur farming and sales in the EU, Thomas Pietsch, Head of Wild Animals in Entertainment and Textiles at FOUR PAWS said: 

“The Commission has now made it clear that it is open to an EU wide ban on the keeping and killing of animals for fur, pending an EFSA opinion. We welcome this step forward and are confident that an independent scientific opinion from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will conclude that the current housing systems in fur farms are incompatible with animal welfare. In addition, we want to highlight the importance of prohibiting the placement of farmed fur on the EU market. If the EU is to ban fur production, it must not accept fur from anywhere else either. 

Countless scientific studies have already shown that the welfare of animals farmed for fur is severely compromised under all circumstances. High welfare standards in fur farms simply do not exist. In the new year we will continue to monitor this process and work to ensure the Commission acts in accordance with the demands of millions of citizens.“ 

Thomas Pietsch, Head of Wild Animals in Entertainment and Textiles at FOUR PAWS


Morgane Speeckaert

Morgane Speeckaert

EU Communications Coordinator

+39 331 365 4110

Rue Ducale 29, 1000 Brussels


European Policy Office

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. 

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