Brussels, 24 May 2005
Attention has been drawn on a number of occasions in the Agriculture and Fisheries Council to the issue of the way in which animals are handled in fur and pelt production in certain Asian countries. Information has shown that animals are subjected to severe suffering during these processes. This has mainly involved dogs and cats, but there is also information indicating that other species of animals, such as bears, are skinned alive. Public opinion in Sweden strongly condemns these procedures and repeated demands have been made for preventive action.
Several EU Member States have introduced national legislation in order to prevent the import of furs and pelts, primarily from dogs and cats.
The question of Community measures to prevent the import of furs and pelts from dogs and cats has previously been discussed by ministers at several Agriculture and Fisheries Council meetings. The new information on treatment of animals warrants an extension of the discussion to include other species of animals that are subjected to severe suffering in the production of furs and pelts. Many Member States share Sweden's view that the way animals are currently being treated has to be regarded as totally unacceptable. Moreover, a number of Member States have already introduced national legislation and there is a clear demand from public opinion for rapid action.
Sweden would like to hear the Commission's view on possible Community-level measures to prevent the import of furs and pelts from animals, primarily dogs and cats, that are subjected to severe suffering in connection with production.