"Everyone is responsible" says international conference on animal welfare
Four hundred delegates from all over the world took part in the first ever international conference on animal welfare in Brussels with the motto "Everyone is Responsible". The conference was organised by the EU Commissioner for Health who is also responsible for animal welfare, together with the Belgian Presidency of the European Union. The main participants came from the 27 EU member states and included IAR's Chairman in Malta, Max Farrugia.
In the opening speech Mr J Dalli, Commissioner for Health said: "This is a crucial moment for animal welfare: The treaty on the functioning of the European Union recognises animals as sentient beings and the Commission has started working to launch a new European Strategy for Animal Welfare that will define the EU initiatives in this area for the coming five years."
Under the motto " Everyone is responsible" the conference's main aim was to provide more information to the public about educational tools and programmes on animal welfare and raise awareness of how important it is to educate farmers, professionals, handlers, slaughterhouse operators, retailers, consumers and other stakeholders, including pet owners, on how animals should be treated. The initiative brought together international experts including academics, EU officials, teachers, veterinarians and NGO representatives to introduce and discuss educational programmes and strategies on animal welfare.
Speaking on the subject of education, the Commissioner said that through education farmers and animal transporters can learn a great deal about the care of animals. He added that a society that values all forms of life and minimises suffering is a more humane society generally.
Following this conference Max Farrugia also attended the general meeting of ENDCAP (End Captivity) which was held in Brussels. He spoke primarily about the trade in wildlife and captive wild animals. Max is chairman of the committee working on this issue. He outlined the problems which wildlife is facing as a result of both legal and illegal trade, the need for uniform legislation in all EU countries, enforcement at borders and frontiers, and a concerted campaign against wildlife criminals. Following a discussion it was agreed that Max would be responsible for the preparation of a detailed report from all the EU member states regarding the state of wildlife in each country.