Friday, 31 October 2008

ICAWC 2008 Presentation: Pets In Europe - Chris Laurence

Previous presentation: TNR: The Template - Carolyn Menteith

Chris Laurence is Dogs Trust's Veterinary Director, and is the Chairman of Pets In Europe.

1:05: PIE started because of the now centralised nature of European legislation. Once legislation is drafted, it's usually too late to change it, so it's important to influence the structure of legislation before it's written. So, if more legislation is coming from Brussels, that's where we should be.

It can't just be one person talking for one organisation, so PIE invited every animal organisation in the EU to join the attempt to influence legislation. It is a multi-national organisation, but there are still 10 needed to create a fully pan-European organisation.

1:10: What is PIE pushing for?

EU laws that stress that it is wrong to be cruel to animals. But it has to be within EU competence, and the EU has to be convinced that these are European issues, not just national issues. The first aim is to make sure that animal welfare, thus far considered a national problem, is part of EU competence (including all animals, not just commercial animals).

1:15: There is already an EU competence in dealing with human health issues and there are laws that affect animal health (such as rabies directives). This can be built on to develop animal welfare and animal health strategies. The message for an animal health action plan is that "prevention is better than cure". A way to push the EU to consider this is to raise the subject of zoonotic diseases (transferable from animals to humans). There's little to be done about rabies, but leishmania is on the rise and can be the focus of lobbying.

At the moment, we don't have sandflies, which transmit leishmania, in the UK. But many more animals are being moved around Europe and it is only a matter of time. Climate change also appears to be a factor in rising levels of infection.

1:20: Thus, the Animal Health Advisory is meeting and discussing these issues. There is a scoping paper written for the committee to review encouraging an EU campaign of awareness about leishmania. Further research about the spread of the disease is needed to support this.

The message also needs to be taken to the public. There are leaflets which can be downloaded from the website, translated and handed out to get the message onto the streets.


Although presentations will follow on customer satisfaction, Internet marketing on a low budget and The Link, I will be unable to liveblog from the stage! However, I hope the coverage thus far has given you an idea about the kind of information and resources available at ICAWC. I hope we see you there next year!

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