The European Commission has adopted the creation of an expert group on animal welfare, to be called the Platform on Animal Welfare.
The European Commissioner in charge of Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, had outlined this platform in the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on November 14, 2016.
"The aim of the platform will be to encourage dialogue between different stakeholders on animal welfare issues.
"It should focus on a better application of EU legislation on animal welfare, the promotion of the very high animal welfare standards and the use of the platform as a facilitator for the development and use of voluntary commitments by business operators."
The platform will bring together all relevant actors in relation to animal welfare.
These include business and professional organisations, organisations from civil society, independent experts from academic and research institutes, EU and European Economic Area Member States, the European Food Safety Authorities and relevant international intergovernmental organisations like the World Organisation for Animal Health.
In the coming weeks, the Commission will publish the call for application for the selection of the members of the Platform which will gather a maximum of 75 participants.
The first meeting of the Platform will be held during the Maltese Presidency, the Commission confirmed.
In 2015 the Eurobarometer on attitudes of European towards animal welfare showed that EU citizens consider animal welfare to be a very important issue and that the EU has a role to play in cooperation with the Member States and business operators.
The Commission held a first stakeholders' dialogue on animal welfare on February 23-24, 2016 with all main stakeholders and Member States.
There was a broad consensus that an enhanced stakeholder dialogue would bring added value at EU level, the Commission said.
Based on this wide-ranged support by the Member States, the Commission continued with the operational procedure for the establishment of the Platform.
Over €2m in funding awarded to Animal Welfare Organisations
Funding awards of €2,460,500 was announced in December last for 137 welfare organisations throughout Ireland involved in protecting animals by the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed.
The payments were made with immediate effect.
Minister Creed said that these organisations contribute greatly to protecting animals, by providing sanctuary for in many instances surrendered, abandoned and at-risk animals.
"The funding being awarded is evidence of my Department’s on-going commitment in the area and is a recognition of the important role played by these organisations in safeguarding animals particularly pet and companion animals."