The European Parliament,
– having regard to the large number of petitions from EU citizens requesting the establishment of an EU legal framework for the protection of pets and stray animals (1613/10, 1274/2011, 1321/2011, 1377/2011, 1412/2011 and others),
– having regard to the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals (CETS No 125),
– having regard to Rule 202(2) of its Rules of Procedure,
A. whereas Article 13 of the TFEU stipulates that, since animals are sentient beings, the Union and the Member States must pay full regard to their welfare requirements;
B. whereas there is no EU legislation for the protection of pets and stray animals, despite the fact that the EU’s pet population is estimated at over one hundred million;
C. whereas the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals has not yet been signed by all Member States;
D. whereas pets and stray animals are victims of mistreatment and cruelty in many Members States, and whereas the petitioners mainly refer to Member States in southern and eastern Europe;
1. Calls on the European Union and the Member States to ratify the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals and to transpose its provisions into national legal systems;
2. Calls on the Commission to put forward an EU legal framework for the protection of pets and stray animals, including:
• rules for the identification and registration of animals,
• stray animal management strategies, including vaccination and sterilisation programmes,
• measures to promote responsible ownership,
• the prohibition of unlicensed kennels and shelters,
• the prohibition of the killing of stray animals without medical indication,
• information and educational programmes in schools on animal welfare,
• severe sanctions to be imposed on any Member State which fails to comply with the rules;
3. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.
September, 2012 - The "Framework" was rejected by the European Commission on the following reasons:
"The Commission is unable to propose the adoption in EU law of the remainder of the desired legal framework because Union competences are governed by the principle of conferral (Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union – TEU). Thus competences not conferred upon the Union by the Treaties remain within the Member States (Article 4 TEU).
The Treaties do not provide a legal basis for the requested rules which all relate to animal welfare protection falling within the competence of the Member States. Article 13 TFEU is not a legal basis, nor does it describe an objective of the Treaties that could justify the use of the "flexibility clause" (Article 352 TFEU).
Only a change in the Treaties making the protection of the welfare of animals an objective of the Treaties can provide the necessary legal base for the desired legal framework. There is currently no unanimity of the Member States to engage in such a treaty reform with this aim in mind.
In relation to any other non-legislative initiative concerning the points raised, the Commission would like to refer to the comments provided in the follow up fiche related to the European Parliament Resolution on the "European Union Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012-2015 (2012/2043 INI)"
On 24 January 2013, a meeting of ten animal welfare organizations and the EU Commission took place wherein the organizations presented their experiences of cruelty and abuse against animals in Southern and Southeastern Europe. Our group took part in this meeting representing our country.
For the first time in animal welfare as well as in human psychology, we posed the subject of an international academic study which has begun, linking exposure to animal abuse in public domain and its effect on child development. Discussions about the brutalization towards stray and shelter animals took place as well as the projection of pictures and charts.
Humane efficient methods and successful projects of stray animal population control like T/N/R were also discussed. Further points of discussion were the endemic corruption and the stray animal business on local and national level in many EU member states.
In conclusion the important topic of Identification and Registration was highlighted as the key element to enable and develop Responsible Ownership. These points will be further discussed in the near future exploring possible political measures and studies.
Mrs. Joanna Darmanin, the head of Cabinet of EU Commissioner Tonio Borg / DG SANCO, and Dr. Harry Vassallo, member of Cabinet, hosted the meeting. Also present were heads of Unit Animal Welfare in DG SANCO Dr. Andrea Gavinelli and Dr. Paolo Dalla Villa. A lively discussion took place, however the representatives of the EU Commission pointed out clearly their limited legal competence given by the Treaty of Lisbon. They pointed out that they have to respect the Member States' legal status within the EU system.
We will keep you informed about the ongoing dialogue with the EU Commission, and in parallel, we are starting to develop strategic, as well as concrete, activities with Members of the European Parliament. We must not forget that they are elected representatives of us, as European citizens.
Finally the problem of the cruelty towards our animals in the respective countries are now most present to the EU Institutions and we will continue the political pressure of our respective group as well as of our newly formed EU action group."
January 27, 2013 - Ärzte für Tiere
October 13, 2011 Written Declaration 026/2011 on Dog Population Management in the EU was adopted by majority vote. 401 MEPs voted in favour of WD0026/2011.
October 22, 2011 members of the German organisation 'Aerzte für Tiere' delivered their petition 1274/2011 to the Chairman of the Petitions Committee, Mrs Erminia Mazzoni.
April 4, 2012, at the occasion of World Stray Animals Day, Occupy for Animals launched the campaign "EU, when do you think it's time to act?" to remind the EU about the adopted Written Declaration 026/2011 and its responsibilities towards the street and domestic animals of Europe. This campaign was supported by ESDAW, MILLION ACTIONS and other organisations as well as by more than 7,000 animal lovers who signed the petition and sent post cards and emails to the EU.
April 24, 2012 Hans-Joachim Richter, representing 'Arzte für Tiere' and Massimo Pradella representing OIPA, spoke about their concerns concerning the protection of stray animals in an interview with the EU Committee on Petitions.
Finally, at this meeting, MEP Erminia Mazzoni (Chair of the Petitions Committee) pointed out that - given the large number of petitions – she thinks that the EU had received a clear political mandate from the European citizens to act on this matter. However, the EU can not go further than the existing agreements and the competences of the European Union, added MEP Erminia Mazzoni.
Finally, she promised to submit a resolution to the European Parliament.
This promise was kept and we thank Mrs Mazzoni from the bottom of our hearts for it!
July 2, 2012, the resolution was submitted at the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
July 4, 21012 the resolution was ADOPTED (see previous text).
In September, 2012, the "Framework" had been rejected by the European Commission
October 4, 2012, Tom, the Animalpastor, personally delivered our petition to the EU, in Brussels
January 24, 2013, a meeting of ten animal welfare organizations and the EU Commission took place wherein the organizations presented their experiences of cruelty and abuse against animals in Southern and Southeastern Europe, and handed over a couple of petitions, including:
► Europe must take responsibility for millions of street animals:
Info and petition here: http://www.eu-protest1-en.aerztefuertiere.de/
► Sofia - Corruption and shady practices hinder the management of stray animals populations
Petition here: https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/bulgaria-start-sterilization-campaigns-in-sofia-and-all-bulgarian-municipalities-immediately
► Ovidiu Portariuc, the mayor of Botosani has hired SC Puppy Vet SRL - known for having killed thousands of stray dogs - and wants to send the city's stray dogs to Constanta, on a dubious 'pilot project'
Petition here: https://www.change.org/petitions/mr-ovidiu-portariuc-mayor-of-botosani-collaborate-with-ador-and-implement-a-catch-neuter-return-program#
► The petition against the chaining of dogs
Petition here: http://www.change.org/petitions/european-commission-ban-the-chaining-of-dogs-in-the-eu
► The petition to help the Romanians get justice for Tereza Szekely and the 120 innocent animals burnt to death in Cluj/Romania
Info and petition here: http://www.causes.com/actions/1702098-justice-for-tereza-szekely-and-the-120-cats-and-dogs-burnt-to-death-in-cluj-romania
January 28, 2013, the EU declared admissible our petition "EU, when do you think it is time to act?", and requests information from the Commission under Rule 202(6)
March 27, 2013, the European Commission replied to the European Parliament's Committee on Petitions, and provided their response to our questions
August 11, 2013, Pia Berrend (founder), representing Occupy for Animals, submits additional information to be added to our petition
September 16, 2013 (15:00 CET), our petition will be discussed by the European Parliament's Committee on Petitions, at the European Parliament, in Brussels
regarding our petition
"EU, when do you think it is time to act?"
IMPORTANT NOTICE to the signatories of our petition "EU, when do you think it is time to act?"
Dear signatories of our petition!Our collective voice has been heard. We have just been informed by the European Parliament's Committee on Petitions that our petition figures on the draft agenda of the meeting of the Committee on Petitions which will take place on:16 September, 2013, at the European Parliament in Brussels. It is scheduled to be dealt with at around 15:00 o'clock.We are pleased to invite you to follow the Committee proceedings as a webcast via European Parliament streaming over the following link: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/activities/committees/homeCom.do?language=EN&body=PETI, either live, or deferred as of the following day.You will find:
the European Parliament's Committee on Petitions' confirmation to us;
the European Commission's response to the questions that we have posed on behalf of you, dear signatories of our petition;
our today's letter to the EU regarding additional information that we have been asked to provide, as downloadable PDF-file;
as well as a brief summary of important facts
on our website, at: http://
Below, the additional information to be added to our petition, that Pia Berrend (founder) representing Occupy for Animals, has forwarded to the European Parliament's Committee on Petitions, on 11th of August, 2013.
We will, of course, keep you updated about future developments.
Thank you for your signature; thank you for speaking up for Europe's homeless animals; and thank you for your trust in us!
Team Occupy for Animals
LETTER TO THE EU & PRESS RELEASE
Additional information to be added to our petition 1251/2012, titled "EU, when do you think it is time to act?" figuring on the draft agenda of the meeting of the Committee on Petitions at the European Parliament which will take place on 16 September 2013, in Brussels.
First of, I would like to thank the European Commission for having responded to the questions posed by my organization on behalf of the signatories of our petition.
As I could see from the given response, the EU-Commission took into consideration ONLY the animal welfare issue related to the growing stray animal populations that exist through most of the European Members Countries, and more precisely, in the Eastern and Southern European Member Countries.
But the stray animals issue is no longer only an animal welfare issue! It is an issue that affects both the human rights and children rights. And both - EU Human Rights and EU Children Rights - are parts of those very important principals on which the entire European Union has been build.
Due to their rapid reproduction and proliferation in countries where this issue is ill-addressed, stray animals are being seen as a verminous species which justifies their mass eradication. The cruelty involved - both by the dog catching industry and the populace - results in serious impairments of the quality of life of the people of these lands - both adults and children.
A new European Study Program, which is being supported by world leading exports in this field, has even shown that the uncontrolled exposure to community animal abuse results in a serious psychological disturbance of the children of these lands, displaying internal and external acute disharmony.
Please, allow me to elaborate.
On HUMAN RIGHTS
The following is an excerpt of the report that Norah Babington has sent to the Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr Nils Muiznieks, as well as to the Sub-Committee on Human Rights at the EU:
"Since 2011, I have been gathering testimonies from Romania by people being exposed to the immense, ongoing cruelty performed by the dog catching business in Romania.
It has been an uphill struggle. People are afraid for their lives, traumatized by the violence, feeling vulnerable and powerless and unable to change the status quo.
They plead for help.
They state they have lost their humanity and any good quality of a descent life, by being forced to witness the sufferings and dying of the stray dogs and cats daily. But be aware of the fact that many dogs who have owners, even the ones walking in a leash with the owner on the streets, gets caught by the dogcatchers and dragged to the death camps, the so called Public Shelters (PS). People pay the dogcatchers weekly bribes in order to save their pet from a horrific death."
I believe that this consists a serious violation of their (EU) Human Rights.
On CHILDREN RIGHTS
The 'Making The Link' study - a study to identify psychological effects of children regularly exposed to community animal abuse and evaluation of efficacy of interventions - has shown some very serious and worrying changes on the psychological health of the children of these lands.
The 'Making The Link' study is, in fact, a study to explore the impact of uncontrolled numbers of free roaming animals in Eastern Europe on the human and societal domains. No previous study has ever been conducted in such environments.
The Research Program was conducted by Malcolm Plant as Initial Investigative PhD Study at the University of Teesside, UK. It was supervised by Professor Paul van Schaik, Professor Anna van Wersch and Professor Giorgious Antonopoulos (School of Social Sciences and Law, University of Teesside, UK), with the external Expert Support from Professor Philip Tedeschi, Executive Director at the Institute for Human Animal Connection, University of Denver, USA.
It is not a quantum leap of imagination to suggest that constant exposure to abuse must have an impact upon any individual who witnesses it, and the children of the lands, where this issue is ill-addressed, see stray animals being victims of the most horrible acts of brutality such as poisoning, stabbing, shooting, hanging, drowning, beating and even burning them to death - sometimes on a daily basis.
A pilot study conducted in Bistrita, Romania, with a control group in Berlin, Germany, in 2012-2013, has shown that animal abuse connects directly with children's psychological health and on societal security in those environments where strategic controls are not applied, and where animal welfare laws exist but are rarely reinforced, and which furnishes licence for animal abuse without repercussions, and thus provides the potential to increase violence and abuse against person and property within these societies.
86,3 % of children in the investigative 14-16 year old age group in Bistrita, Romania, had seen animal abuse in public 'many times'.
It is suggested that exposure to external stimuli causes conceptualisation, or schemata, to be ‘fixed‘ by the time the child is 8 years old. Exposure to abuse and aggression (human and animal) results in all the effects which have been identified by the study:
aggression against person and property,
and if these alone were not worthy of tears: the child also wishes to die!
Children who, within a few years, develop from innocence and balance to psychological disturbance, displaying internal and external acute disharmony... a journey from peace, harmony and innocence, to anger, hatred and destruction.
What is evident is that around 10% of children in the study were identified as having abused animals. Their profiles showed strong correlations with increased aggression, negative empathy towards fellow human beings, social violence and theft.
These 10% of the 170 children in the research program exhibited aggression syndrome and used the ready availability of potential animal victims in public places to displace this aggression.
With 2,000 children in this age group in Bistrita, extrapolation suggests 200 children locally seeking animal victims to exercise displaced aggression. This suggests that in a 60,000 population, taken over a 40 year societal time frame of all ages, 4,000 individuals are at any one time, seeking to act out their aggression on the animals and potentially against other people. With a number of countries in south and eastern Europe experiencing similar environments, ramifications could be seen to invite a major political mandate.
In addition, and and as you would surely know, the link between animal abuse and crimes against humans has been well documented over several decades, and it is proven that people who can commit such crimes against animals rarely stop there; they are very likely to harm other humans, especially children or other vulnerable people.
Many studies in psychology, sociology, and criminology during the last 25 years have demonstrated that violent offenders frequently have histories of serious and repeated animal cruelty. The FBI has recognized the connection since the 1970s, when its analysis of the lives of serial killers suggested that most had killed or tortured animals as children. Other research has shown consistent patterns of animal cruelty among perpetrators of more common forms of violence, including child abuse, spouse abuse, and elder abuse.
According to a 1997 study done by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and North-eastern University, animal abusers are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people and four times more likely to commit property crimes than are individuals without a history of animal abuse.
I believe that this very serious impact on the psychological health of the children of these lands constitutes a violation of their (EU) Children Rights.
On CORRUPTION AND MISAPPROPRIATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS
None - and I mean NONE - of the most affected EU-Member countries has made any serious efforts to curb the stray animal population by implementing neutering campaigns, and/or by informing their citizens about the importance to spay and neuter their animals and/or not to let them roam freely and mate as they wish.
Instead, they try - year in, year out - to clean the streets from unwanted animals.
Unlike developing countries that lack the necessary funds and the needed staff to implement massive sterilization campaigns, is this not the case for the countries discussed here. We are talking about countries member of the European Union, where the necessary funds for sterilizations - which would amount to only a fragment of the gigantic amounts spent each year by these countries to fight the effect instead of the cause - should not be the problem. The problem lays rather in corrupted interests and a lack of vision and will.
And as a matter of fact, Bulgaria is the most corrupt country in the European Union followed by Romania, and it should be no surprise that numerous reports -- which have been forwarded to the EU by, among others, Emil D. Kouzmanov, BSAPP, Bulgaria; Dr Carmen Arsene, FNPA, Romania; and myself, Pia Berrend, as a representative of my organization Occupy for Animals, Luxembourg -- revealed a bleak business with stray dogs, and that shady practices HINDER the management of the stray animal populations.
By intentionally NOT taking the necessary measures to reduce the stray animal populations, these governments support the prosperity of a dirty industry in which many people profit from:
the collecting of dogs
the construction of unnecessary shelters (including research and design)
the housing of animals, including supposedly feeding and caring of the animals
the incineration of the deceased animals
With an estimated 100 million free roaming dogs (owned and strays) and probably twice as many stray cats, the growing stray animal issue does not only appears to be out of control but, as seen in the 'Making The Link' Study, has also serious ramifications for the health of children across a number of countries.
If not urgently addressed, and under consideration of their known reproduction rate and proliferation, the European stray animal populations will soon have reached a scale that challenges the imagination!
No! This is no longer about animals alone. This is about the quality of life, and the future of children, people, and the entire societies of the countries that we are talking of here.
And, yes! This issue IS transnational... ie across almost ALL EU Member Countries (Reference: Treaty of Lisbon, Principle of Subsidiarity and Proportionality).
I kindly and respectfully suggest that the European Union reconsiders its position on the growing stray animals issue that exists in most of the EU Member Countries under consideration of the points that I have presented to you today, and urgently takes a decision in this field. And if not... WHY NOT?
- Pia Berrend -
Founder of Occupy for Animals
tel.: +33 (0) 251 30 49 02
Information on the EU stray animals issue is compiled on the following website:
The complete report that Norah Babington has sent to the Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr Nils Muiznieks, as well as to the Sub-Committee on Human Rights at the EU, can be read at the bottom of the following page on our website:
Information on the 'Making The Link' study, is compiled at:
WELCOME to the 'Making The Link' website
ABOUT the 'Making The Link' website
-- END OF LETTER TO THE EU --