I have been contacted by a constituent who is concerned about animal cruelty and believes that all countries who seek membership of the EU should be required to demonstrate certain standards of animal care.
My constituent tells me that Bosnia and Herzegovina, who are seeking admission into the EU, are about to vote on changes to their existing Animal Protection and Welfare Act. She tells me that the proposed changes to the law are to make euthanasia legal in all animal shelters and that it can be performed within 15 days of a dog’s arrival in a shelter.
My constituent says that the current law is a good and enforceable one that does not allow euthanasia to be carried out unless the animal has reached such an old age that its vital bodily functions are starting to fail, is suffering from an incurable or infectious disease, is a danger to those around it or if keeping it alive is causing it unnecessary pain and suffering. She is also concerned that when the current law is disregarded, which she believes is widespread, the methods of euthanasia which are used include clubbing, injections of bleach, starvation, burning and being buried alive.
My constituent also tells me that the current law states that every town and city is required to build shelters for stray animals and that they should provide adequate care, including veterinary care for the animals. However, she claims that in most shelters, the animals are left for days without water, food or any treatment.
As my constituent is concerned that the current law is not being enforced enough and that any changes to the law may reduce the welfare of animals in shelters, could the Commission confirm:
If it is currently in talks with the Bosnia and Herzegovina Government to ensure that the welfare of animals in shelters is protected and enforced?
If it plans to take this issue into account during any discussions with the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina regarding their membership of the EU?