Cattle on transport truck

Statements on EU Animal Welfare Proposals

Global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS on today’s presentations of the European Commission on animal welfare-related topics


Vienna, 7 December 2023 – On December 7th, the European Commission published its much-awaited proposal on live animal transport. Moreover, the day bore much news with regard to animal welfare from the Commission who also published an additional proposal for a regulation on pets as well as its response to the “Fur Free Europe” ECI.

Live Animal Transport Proposal

“While it is great to see a proposal on live transport, the lack of ambition this proposal entails is disappointing and set up to fail in protecting animals. We welcome some positive changes, such as stricter limits on transport times and species-specific rules on temperature, but the proposed changes are all in all very disappointing and do not go far enough. Among other things, 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 is particularly cruel via sea routes. Past tragedies have shown again and again that animals cannot be protected when being transported on vessels, and thousands and thousands of animals have tragically died.

A proposal that is supposed to protect animals must include a ban on third country exports, sea transports, as well as the transport of unweaned animals. It also needs to ban transport that is longer than eight hours and such at extreme temperatures. The Council of the EU and Parliament must amend these shortcomings accordingly, and put forward ambitious changes to the proposed legislation, to ensure that animals can be successfully protected during transports in the future,” says Corinna Reinisch, Programme Lead on Farm Animal Welfare at FOUR PAWS.

More information about the work of FOUR PAWS on live animal transport can be found here.


Coordinated Control Plan on Illegal Movement of Pets: EC Report

“FOUR PAWS welcomes the proposed regulation on pets which is set to tackle the serious problems associated with the illegal pet trade which has sky-rocketed in recent years, hopefully closing down the legislative loopholes which have allowed the illegal pet trade to thrive. FOUR PAWS’ presence in Brussels was first established in 2007 to achieve exactly this, so this is the realisation of a mission for us. FOUR PAWS investigations, which have contributed to the European Commission’s report from its Coordinated Control Plan on Illegal Movement of Pets published today, expose that the pet market is rife with illegal breeders operating within organised criminal networks. In addition to the serious animal welfare issues observed, the report showcases the internal market distortions and health risks brought by the trade. Disguised as non-commercial pet movement, animals are continuously traded into the EU and sold illegally with no taxes being paid, amounting to billions of tax revenue loss for Member States.

This is also reflected in our recently published ‘Puppy Scammers’ report. Our investigations show that this cruel trade is thriving, crossing borders and breaking laws. The trade abuses animals, using cruel breeding practices and creating unhealthy puppies, and causes great emotional and financial burden for people too. While our report covers four countries, we believe it is representative of the situation across Europe and the EU. We hope the new rules will close the loopholes and facilitate the work of enforcement authorities,” says Georgia Diamantopoulou, Companion Animal Policy Coordinator at FOUR PAWS.

Find the FOUR PAWS ‘Puppy Scammers’ report here and more information about the illegal puppy trade here.


EC response to ECI “Fur Free Europe”

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

More information about the Fur Free Europe ECI can be found here.

Polar foxes in a cage at a fur farm

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Katharina Braun

Katharina Braun

Team Lead Public Relations

+43 (0) 664 885 33 270

VIER PFOTEN International 
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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 and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions.

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