On November 29th. 2010, the Council of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers of the European Union agreed to ask the European Commission to take action on the welfare of cats and dogs in Europe.

IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) applauds this development.

“This is the beginning of better animal welfare standards throughout the European Union,” says Kate Atema, IFAW’s Programme Director for Companion Animals.

The Council of Agriculture and Fisheries will ask the Commission to study disparities between Member States’ standards on the breeding and trade of cats and dogs, and to prepare policy options on how to harmonize the European internal market. The Commission will also request the introduction, if “justified”, of options for compatible identification and registration systems for cats and dogs.

“Harmonized welfare standards and a compatible identification and registration system throughout the EU would be an important step towards diminishing the cruelty of puppy farms and reducing the health risks to humans and domestic pets as a result of leaky transport regulations,” said Atema.

The Council will also request the Commission to present, if “justified”, a proposal to restrict the exhibition and trade of dogs and cats that have undergone unnecessary surgery, such as ear cropping and tail docking. In addition, the Commission will be asked to develop appropriate actions to promote and support education on responsible dog and cat ownership, and to support national information campaigns on the negative impact of surgical interventions that have no medical grounds.

“IFAW is pleased the European Union is taking steps towards ensuring that cats and dogs receive adequate and responsible pet guardianship,” adds Atema. “We applaud the Belgian Presidency for moving this important issue forward, and will continue to closely monitor developments.”

 ~ With thanks to Kate Atema at IFAW for giving permission to reprint this positive news.