Animal welfare and the size of the European stray animal population
Question for written answer P-004480/2012
to the Commission
Tiziano Motti (PPE)
The Commission's reply to Written Question E‑010483/2011 concerning ‘Clandestine trafficking in dogs in Italy’ states that ‘There is no EU legislation on the protection of stray dogs, on sterilisation and registration of dogs. The way Member States implement national legislation on these matters is not under the competencies of the EU and remains under the sole competence of the Member States’.
The European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, of 13 November 1987, provides for precise sterilisation measures as a way of preventing the uncontrolled reproduction of stray dogs. Not all the Member States of the Council of Europe have signed this convention. However, Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union defines animals as ‘sentient beings’. The Treaty of Lisbon has been signed and ratified by ALL the Member States, including Romania and Spain, where veritable exterminations of stray dogs are being carried out.
Stray dogs are a growing problem and a constantly worsening nuisance throughout Europe. Animals left to their own devices are unable to obtain food for themselves and often die of hunger and thirst, or are run over by passing vehicles. Some animals, abandoned because they are old or sick, have no chance of survival.
There are approximately 120 million stray animals in Europe, and only the adoption of political strategies at EU level for managing the canine population and promoting the responsible care of animals can bring this problem under control. The uncontrolled growth of the canine population and the lack of common standards for its management in the EU is a threat to the health of the canine population itself, and possibly the human population as well, with the risk of diseases spreading from dogs to other animals, causing them great suffering and without access to the treatment to which they are entitled as sentient beings.
As regards the competence of the EU for the humane management of the health of animals as sentient beings, and for the health of citizens, what is the Commission’s position regarding the risks of the spread of transmissible diseases among stray dogs, which, with reference to the question mentioned above, are being illegally trafficked from one state to another? Does the Commission not consider that states such as Romania and Spain, with their mass exterminations documented by various international animal welfare bodies and backed by political decisions on the part of the local authorities themselves, are an infringement of Article 13 of the Treaty of Lisbon? What, in the Commission’s opinion, is the point of the principle finally introduced into Article 13 of the Treaty of Lisbon, given the failure by certain Member States to apply it? Does the Commission not consider it necessary to open infringement proceedings against the states that are failing to apply this article?
OJ C 192 E, 03/07/2013