The European Commission has proposed new rules to improve the welfare of dogs and cats in the EU, and the conditions for animals during transport. It has also responded to a citizens’ initiative to ban fur farming in the EU.
Better welfare for dogs and cats
With more than 72 million dogs and more than 83 million cats in the EU, the estimated value of dog and cat sales is €1.3 billion annually. The illegal trade has soared in recent years and some establishments keep the animals in poor conditions. The new rules aim to harmonise EU standards on the welfare of dogs and cats, covering housing, care, transport and treatment in breeding establishments, pet shops and shelters.
Better rules for the transport of animals
Each year, 1.4 billion animals are transported in and from the EU. The new rules aim to limit travel times and enable rest breaks outside the vehicle during long journeys, increase minimum space and prohibit transport in extreme temperatures. Better animal welfare not only benefits the animals themselves but also consumers and farmers, as it contributes to sustainable food systems and helps address risks to public health.
Further work on fur farming
The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) ‘Fur Free Europe’ called for an EU ban on fur farming and the sale of fur products. The Commission has tasked the European Food Safety Authority to produce a scientific opinion on the matter. Based on this opinion, the Commission will decide on the most appropriate action and will also consider other measures to ensure the welfare of farmed fur animals.
The animal welfare package is an important pillar of the Farm to Fork strategy, the European Green Deal’s agenda for more sustainable agriculture and food production.
For more information
Agriculture and the Green Deal
Press release: Commission proposes new rules to improve animal welfare
Questions and Answers on Animal Welfare in transport
Factsheet on Animal Transport
Questions and Answers on the welfare of dogs and cats
Factsheet on Cats and Dogs
Questions and Answers on the European Citizens’ Initiative ‘Fur Free Europe’