Answer given by Mr Dalli on behalf of the Commission
1. The Commission received in the past complaints concerning the maltreatment of greyhounds in Spain (galgos).
2. Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union requires in particular the Member States to pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals in the context of certain Union's policies. Article 13 does not apply to areas where the Union has no legal base to harmonise in the field of animal welfare.
3. The welfare of dogs is not governed by EU rules and this matter remains under the sole competence of the Member States.
4 to 7. As a consequence, the Commission does not envisage taking specific action regarding this issue and has no information regarding the Spanish system of sanctions.
8. Among the tools available under the Rural Development Programmes at EU level, support can be granted for measures aimed at the diversification of farming activities in rural areas. It should be stressed that any support given under Rural Development is subject to relevant conditions and controls as defined by EU legislation. Rural development programmes are implemented in shared management and it is the responsibility of Member States to ensure respect of these rules and conditions, including when selecting projects for financing. The Commission is not aware of any EU support having been granted to holdings acting as described by the Honourable Member.
9. In November 2010, the Council of the European Union called the Commission to perform studies on the welfare of dogs and cats(1). The issue of the welfare of dogs is being discussed in the context of the ongoing preparation of a communication on a 2011-2015 EU strategy for the protection and welfare of animals. Possible actions for the protection of dogs with due regard to the principles of conferral and subsidiarity as laid down in the EU treaties might be considered.