The Animal Welfare Action Plan
On 23 January 2006, the Commission adopted a new Action Plan on the protection and welfare of animals. The Action Plan aims to ensure that animal welfare is addressed in the most effective manner possible over the coming years, in all EU sectors and through EU relations with Third countries. For the period 2006-2010, five main areas of action are set out to meet this objective: upgrading minimum standards for animal welfare; promoting research and alternative approaches to animal testing; introducing standardised animal welfare indicators; better informing animal handlers and the general public on animal welfare issues; and supporting international initiatives for the protection of animals. Detailed background on each area of action is outlined in the Action Plan, in the accompanying impact assessment and Commission working document, along with an indicative timetable for the planned initiatives.
EU, Council of Europe and OIE Declaration on animal welfare
The Council of Europe (CoE), the European Union (EU) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) adopted on 24 November 2006 a joint declaration entitled “Animal Welfare in Europe: achievements and future prospects”.
The Declaration, which commits to greater cooperation on all aspects of animal welfare, was adopted at the close of a one-and-a-half day international workshop aimed at bridging the gap between animal welfare legislation and its practical application. Senior government and veterinary representatives from 50 countries in the European region took part in the workshop, which was hosted by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, in cooperation with the European Union and the OIE. They had the opportunity to exchange best practice solutions and discuss ways to overcome social, legal, and economic obstacles that hinder the effective implementation of animal welfare guidelines throughout Europe. The workshop also allowed the CoE, EU and OIE to consider how their existing activities could complement each other, with a view to maximising the efforts being made to improve animal welfare in Europe.
In the Declaration, the Council of Europe, the OIE and the European Union commit to providing mutual support and cooperating on all aspects of animal welfare, from the elaboration of legislation, to the training of veterinary professionals and para-professionals, to raising public awareness of the societal value of animal welfare. The important link between animal welfare and the need for adequate scientific and veterinary expertise is stressed in the document. Furthermore, the Declaration commits to efficiently assisting countries to comply with, develop or enforce animal welfare laws, standards and guidelines at a national level.
More information can be found at the web-site of Directorate General Health and Consumer.