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Parliamentary questions
3 December 2010
E-8601/2010
Answer given by Mr Dalli on behalf of the Commission

1. The Commission is not aware of the situation of animals' shelters since there are no common rules for the welfare of dogs in the EU. This matter is under the sole responsibility of the Member States. However in the context of the evaluation of the EU policy on animal welfare(1) the Commission mandated a consultant to study different aspects of the welfare of animals including dogs. The evaluation will be completed in December 2010 and the Commission will have more information on this subject very soon.

2. The evaluation of the EU policy on animal welfare will also provide recommendations concerning the scope and instruments for improving the present policy. This will be the basis for possible further action in this field in the context of the second EU strategy for the protection and welfare of animals.

3. The Belgian Presidency has raised the issue of the welfare of dogs and cats to the Council and the debate is presently ongoing. The issue of stray dogs, shelters and other treatments (like catching, neutralisation, re-homing) is part of this discussion.

However the Commission can only act where there is a legal base in the Treaties. Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union(2) is not in itself sufficient to act. Animal welfare is not as such part of the competences of the EU. This article only requires that consideration be given to the welfare of animals in the context of EU competences but does not extend them. Previous animal welfare initiatives have been developed on the basis of agriculture or internal market objectives for example.

(1)See www.eupaw.eu
(2)OJ C 83, 30.3.2010.

OJ C 249 E, 26/08/2011
Last updated: 15 December 2010Legal notice