National pet NGOs gathered in Brussels recently to join the newly created organisation, Pets In Europe (PIE), officially beginning their campaign to lobby EU institutions to improve pet welfare across Europe.
PIE has members drawn from national pet NGOs in 17 member states, representing the interests of and the need for protection of pets across Europe.
PIE's inaugural Chairman Chris Laurence, from Dogs Trust UK, began the first meeting of the organisation on 3 May 2007. He said: "It is past time for pet NGOs across Europe to come together to form a common front to ensure that all European pets receive the same high standards of welfare. To do this, actions taken individually and at a purely national level are simply not enough."
New members of PIE acknowledged the high variation in the level of protection for pets across member states, with some EU members failing to enforce even the most basic legislation and standards of care.
Vice-Chairman Max Farrugia, from International Animal Rescue in Malta, explained: "Indeed, the objective of Pets in Europe will be to push the European Institutions to adopt legislation requiring all member states not only to introduce a high standard of care for pets, but also requiring them to enforce this legislation, taking non-compliant member states to the European Court of Justice if necessary."
Portuguese Socialist MEP Paulo Casaca, former president of the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals , attended the inuaguration, offering his full support for the PIE initiative and saying that despite a likely upward battle with the EU institutions, he was confident that PIE would prevail.