Lobby in Europe
Save the Dogs does not have the resources to hire a full-time lobbyist working in Brussels and Strasbourg. Yet through direct activities of its president and by participating in a European network launched in 2014 by Dogs Trust (the EU Dog & Cat Alliance), Save the Dogs has been committed in recent years to lobby and influence the European “decision makers”.
The killing of thousands of abandoned dogs in Romania takes place since 2001 based on a national law, regularly approved by the Romanian Parliament.
The existence of this law is possible because the EU never approved a Directive to prevent EU member states from killing healthy animals as a method to control the dog and cat population. In fact, there is no legislation whatsoever in Europe concerning pets, apart from some rules for intra and extra States movements.
The latter finds it difficult to arrive because pet animals have always been considered a topic relevant to the culture and traditions of each country and not a topic of economic and health relevance. This is why Brussels’ response to millions of signatures and letters sent during the past asking to stop massacres like the Romanian one has always been: “This is not a matter for which we are competent”.
The use of euthanasia (even if in Romania we should rather talk about killing) as a tool to contain the canine and feline population is unfortunately also widespread among other European countries like the UK, France, most regions of Spain, Estonia, Ireland and Belgium.
We think that there has been an underestimation of the problem given the explosion of the puppy trade phenomena which has enormous consequences, while the stray dogs population itself (where it is endemic, as in Romania) potentially carries risks to public health that cannot be ignored by institutions, with significant social and sanitary costs.
For a long time a patient lobbying work of many associations has pressed the Parliament and the European Commission to develop a legal framework with guidelines for member countries in order to guarantee greater protection for EU dogs and cats.
Finally on December the 16th, 2019, the Council of Europe published the conclusions of a long investigation and asked the Commission to deliver a legislation that protects pet animals (among others) which have been excluded so far from all the Directives. This is a historic step which will force the Commission to do what citizens and associations have been crying out for years.
A dog’s life – The homeless dogs of Romania”. Event at the European Parliament
On Tuesday 20 November 2018 the premiere of the documentary “A dog’s life – The homeless dogs of Romania” was held at the European Parliament in Brussels.
The event was hosted by MEP Stefan Eck and co-organised by the Intergroup for the Welfare and Conservation of Animals and Eurogroup for Animals.
The initiative was attended by some of the most active animal welfare associations in Romania, like FPCC and Millions of Friends, and many charities from the UK.
On the other hand, the presence of MEPs was extremely scarce and no Romanian MEP accepted the invitation to participate.
At the end of the screening there was a debate where also the president of Save the Dogs made a statement, expression frustration for the unchanging situation:
To be noticed was the presence of two officials of the High Representation of the Romanian Government at the European Parliament, who certainly reported the contents of the initiative to the relevant Ministries.
At the end of the debate they claimed that “the Government is respectful and interested in NGOs work”, while everybody knows that the cry of thousands of Romanians and European citizens against the public kennels remains unheard and no petition or public initiative seems to affect the rulers of Romania.
And the cull goes on.