As President of the FCI Europe Section it is my pleasure to have the opportunity to write an article for this first edition of the new FCI Newsletter.

The Europe Section is FCI’s largest section with kennel clubs representing 47 countries as members. Regarding activities, Europe is also the most active section when it comes to shows, trials, obedience and agility. The FCI economy is highly dependent upon the European activities. The board of the FCI Europe Section consists of Barbara Müller (Switzerland), Jean Paul Petitdidier (France), Ioanna Galanos (Treasurer, Greece), Damir Skok (Vice President, Croatia) and Jørgen Hindse (President, Denmark). The secretary is Jette Nielsen (Denmark).

The section’s most important work is to influence the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council. In order to establish contact to relevant persons and bodies we are assisted by Kellen Europe, a professional “lobby company”. It would be practically impossible to establish contact to relevant partners without their help.

In the following I shall account for some of the key areas which have been the targets of our focus in 2010:

Pet Night 2010 in the European Parliament

On 24 February, the FCI European Section for the first time participated as a partner organisation in the Pet Night, which takes place every year in the European Parliament at the initiative of IFAH, the European representation of the animal health industry. The event was organised under the patronage of two Members of the European Parliament, Mrs Caroline Lucas (United Kingdom) and Mr Horst Schnellhardt (Germany).

The aim of the event is to draw the attention of the audience with examples of the vast contributions pets can bring to human life. This in turn should encourage European decision-makers to have an sympathetic attitude to pet welfare.

As a partner of the event, the FCI European Section had a small banner stand to present its activities at the meeting. Two Board Members of the FCI European Section, Mrs Ioanna Galanos and Mr Damir Skok attended the event to present the FCI and its activities.

At the latest board meeting in October this year it was decided to participate in the Pet Night in 2011 as well.

Paulsen Report on Evaluation
of Animal Welfare Action Plan 2006-2010

In view of the upcoming Animal Welfare Action Plan (2011-2015), replacing the 2006 Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals, the European Parliament has voted on the report by Swedish MEP Mari Paulsen (ALDE) on the evaluation and assessment of the 2006-2010 action plan.

On 5 May 2010, the European Parliament voted in favour of the Paulsen Report on the evaluation and assessment of the animal welfare action plan 2006-2010. The report, prepared by Mrs Paulsen, member of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development, touched upon different issues such as need for more and better education, communication and information on the topic, the establishment of a common legal basis and common standards to ensure animal welfare in the whole continent, without forgetting the implementation of stricter penalties in case of violations of existing EU legislation.

I had the opportunity to discuss the matter with Mrs Mari Paulsen in June and stated the FCI’s points of view.

In line with the position advocated by the FCI Europe Section, the report also calls for the inclusion in the action plan for 2011-2015 of companion and wild animals, which were not included in the previous action plan.

First International Conference
on Animal Welfare Education in October

The European Commission hosted the first international conference on animal welfare education on 1-2 October. The event took place in Brussels and was opened by John Dalli, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, with an introduction from the Belgian Presidency of the EU. The conference programme included other top level speakers from the European Parliament, European Commission, FAO, different Institutes, Universities and Associations related to the field, not only from Europe, but also from other parts of the world.

As President of the FCI Europe Section I was also invited as speaker and had the opportunity to state our standpoints as organised kennel clubs, in particular that pedigree dog owners are well-educated and capable of taking good care of animals, especially dogs.

The two-day conference explored the science and values of animal welfare education, methodologies for teaching animal welfare, and the role of the media in animal welfare education.

The European Commission recognised the urgent need to increase consumer information and awareness about welfare issues and products derived from animals reared in a welfare-friendly way. These kinds of initiatives are, hence, seen as a way of strengthening the European culture of responsible ownership of animals.

Conference on Responsible Dog Ownership in Europe

The first international conference on animal welfare education was followed by another Brussels conference, organised by Four Paws, the international animal welfare organisation and the Istituto G. Caporale, on responsible dog ownership in Europe.

The event took place on 4 and 5 October and tackled the worrying situation of canine overpopulation in Europe, especially stray dogs.

The conference gathered different stakeholders (European Institutions, International NGOs, governments, national veterinary services and veterinary associations) to discuss EU-wide solutions for dog welfare in Europe.

On behalf of the FCI I was invited as one of the key note speakers

New Regulation on non-commercial transport of pets poses problems for sportive events or shows

The European Commission – thanks notably to the work of animal welfare organisations – is concerned about the fact that commercial transports of pets may be fraudulently disguised as non-commercial movements of pets. To this end, it has adopted in May 2010 a Regulation to restrict non-commercial transports of dogs, cats and ferrets to a maximum of 5 animals.

This however raises concerns for dog owners in Europe wishing to participate in sports events in other countries (i.e. with sledge dogs) or to attend dog shows with more than 5 dogs. The Swedish Kennel Club has raised this issue with the European Commission by letter in June 2010 to ask the Commission for a solution that would not put an exaggerated burden on dog owners wanting to legitimately participate in such events in other countries. Also the FCI Standards Commission and the FCI Europe Section have posed the problem.
In a letter dated August 2010, the European Commission has confirmed that it has become aware of the situation and is concerned about finding a solution that would allow protecting pets while allowing responsible dog owners to carry out their hobby.

The Commission does believe that the Regulation should remain in place – as its primary aim is the protection of animals. However, it has promised to assess whether there are any means to reduce the administrative burden put on dog owners resulting from the new Regulation.

The FCI Europe Section is thoroughly watching the developments and we have succeeded in obtaining a correction in the provision. This means that the veterinary certificate is valid for 4 months and only entails passage over borders with more than 5 dogs. We also attempted to have a provision relating to dogs older than 6 months, however, we did not succeed. We will try again when the provisions have been in force for approximately 1 year.

The FCI World Dog Show took place in Denmark in June and with nearly 20,000 dogs it was a great and fantastic show. European Dog Show took place in Slovenia in October and nearly 10,000 dogs participated. A great and well-organised event. I have chosen not to elaborate further on these two shows as they already have been well described in the FCI Magazine.

2011 will be a jubilee year – the FCI will celebrate its 100-year birthday and a number of large events will be held in Europe. More information will follow in the next edition of this newsletter.

President of the FCI Europe Section