EU takes Greece to court over animal welfare infringements

EU - The European Commission is to refer Greece to European Court of Justice for failing to enforce EU animal welfare rules, particularly over problems in transport and at slaughter.
calendar icon 23 March 2007
clock icon 3 minute read
The decision to take this action against Greece follows persistent shortcomings identified in the field of animal welfare over a number of years, said the commission, the executive body of the European Union (EU), on Wednesday.

The standard of animal welfare in Greece remains below par and the necessary legislation has not been adequately implemented, it said.

A number of inspections carried out by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) between 1998 and 2006 reported consistent and serious shortcomings in the area of animal welfare in Greece.

The commission first initiated an infringement procedure against Greece on non-compliance in the field of animal welfare in 1998, but terminated it following commitments from the Greek authorities to improve matters.

However, subsequent FVO visits carried out between 2003 and 2006 revealed no substantial improvement in the overall animal welfare situation in Greece.

In May 2005, the Greek authorities transmitted an action plan over animal welfare to the commission, including a timetable for the implementation of the FVO's recommendations in this respect.

However, a follow-up FVO inspection in 2006 found that the action plan was still not fully implemented and that an adequate animal protection system was still lacking.

Therefore, the commission sent a "Reasoned Opinion" to Greece on July 4, 2006, warning them primarily to implement the necessary EU legislation as required.

The response by the Greek authorities to the letter once again failed to produce satisfactory results. As a result, the commission says it has no alternative but to refer Greece to the European Court of Justice.
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