In the European Union (EU), there is no central body to regulate the treatment of animals used in zoos, the pet trade and vivisection. Only the Central Animal Welfare Unit exists and that deals solely with animals used for food. A huge number of animals in European zoos, circuses and sold as pets are kept in dire conditions that fail to meet their basic mental and physical needs. This is largely the result of poor legislation and enforcement of laws of government authorities. For that reason, a central body is needed within Europe in order for there to be stronger laws and legislation for animals used in European zoos, circuses, dolphinaria and for wild animals sold as pets.
The Born Free Foundation, aware of this issue through their ongoing investigations, has started a campaign calling on EU members of Parliament to establish a “One Stop Shop” to improve animal welfare in the EU.
Developed by Jacqueline Foster, British Conservative MEP and Vice-President of the Animal Welfare Intergroup, the written declaration No. 22/2015 proposes a “One Stop Shop” and, if it passes, will be a really positive step for wild animals throughout Europe.
How Would the One Stop Shop Benefit Animals?
Even though times have changed and animals are, to an extent, gaining more rights, many wild animals throughout Europe are still living a life of misery at the hands of humans. Highly sociable animals like elephants and parrots live a life of solitude in concrete prisons in zoos. They crave company and stimulation but do not receive it. Often, this can lead to self-destructive behavior in many animals and even premature death.
“A one stop shop for animal welfare, as proposed, would establish a centralised information point within the European Commission to provide much-needed support and capacity-building to the 28 EU governments,” the Born Free Foundation writes in a declaration, “Rightly, it is the responsibility of the Member States to protect animals, but without the necessary knowledge and expertise, currently poor animal welfare standards are unlikely to change.”
Over the years, the Born Free Foundation and a number of other animal welfare charities have received hundreds of complaints about animals suffering in zoos and circuses in the EU. A central animal welfare unit within the EU would benefit the welfare of all animal species, as law enforcement and legislation would be dramatically improved in all EU countries.
“We are fully supportive of a ‘one stop shop’ for animal welfare established at the European level as it will centralize and consolidate expertise in animal welfare and have relevance for all animals under human care,” says Daniel Turner, Programs Manager for animal protection policy at the Born Free Foundation. “As with many animal protection NGOs, Born Free seeks to protect the welfare of animals, largely hindered by poor enforcement and non-compliance.”
Please Support the Written Declaration
In order to make the declaration the official position of the EU, it needs the support of over half the MEPs (376). And there’s a deadline: July 20th! A few MEPs have signed the declaration 22/2015 already, one of whom is the President of the Intergroup for Animal Welfare.
“A one stop shop within the European Commission will ensure the Member State Competent Authorities have the means to access guidance and training in order to build capacity, ensure effective enforcement of law and uphold animal welfare standards,” explains Turner. “Today, the Born Free Foundation joins over 100 animal protection NGOs in support of this vital initiative.”
To make the One Stop Shop happen, ask your MEP to sign this written declaration. Inform your MP of the ways to sign:
- In Brussels at office PHS 07C 085 / PHS 07C 087
- In Strasbourg at office LOW T02024
- Via email by downloading the relevant form for written declaration 22/2015 from parliament’s intranet
If you live within the UK, you can contact your MEP here and enter your postcode to list your local MEPs. If you live outside the UK, you can contact your MEPS here. And if you live outside of Europe, please contact the President of the Intergroup for Animal Welfare, Mr Janusz Wojciehowski and explain the issue to him. You can email him at [email protected]
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