What members across Europe are doing already

In Europe 80 million of households own at least one pet animal and there are approximately 7 million equines. Nonetheless, they are still victim of abandonment, negligence and abuse, as experienced by Eurogroup for Animals’ member organisations, working everyday to stop cruelties on animals across Europe and beyond.

Companion animals’ protection remains a competence of the Member States and their welfare is not considered as a priority for the European Union. However, at the national level protection for companion animal welfare vary greatly, with some countries where this is completely disregarded by governments and competent authorities.

With the “EU Care For Our Companions” campaign, we want to show European institutions and decision-makers that citizens care for their cats, dogs, horses and donkeys, and that it is now time for the EU to take its responsibility.
By proving that Europeans want better protection for them, Eurogroup for Animals and its member organisations will have the opportunity to place companion animal welfare high on the European political agenda. Take action and help us ask the EU Commission to establish EU guidelines for a better protection of our companion animals.

Do you want to find out what animal protection organisations are already doing across Europe? Find a campaign near you.

Show the European Commission you care!

If you’re going to take a selfie, take it for a reason.

  1. 1Take a selfie with your dog, cat or equine
  2. 2Post it on Instagram
  3. 3Don't forget to add relevant hashtag(s):

What is the purpose of this campaign

Cats, dogs and equines play an integral role in human society. They have been making us happier and healthier for more than 10,000 years.

However, our companion animals are often invisible at EU level because guaranteeing their welfare remains a competence of the Member States.

We need the EU to give better protection to our loyal companions!

Please note this campaign does not include the issue of exotic animals. Exotic animals are not pets! They are wild animals and should live free in their natural habitats.

Check the facts and act

Dogs and cats
Dogs and cats
  • Lack of care and knowledge about responsible ownership

    Providing companion animals with appropriate housing, feeding and veterinary treatment is crucial to ensure them a happy life. Owning a pet entails many responsibilities: taking good care of our companions also includes knowing their needs, both physical and mental, as well as minimizing the risks that they might pose to others. Cat and dog owners need to be better trained and educated about companion animal welfare!

  • Abandonment and adoption

    The number of animals being abandoned or relinquished to rehoming organisations has risen sharply in recent years.This is often due to impulsive purchasing, or owners being unprepared for the responsibilities of providing an animal with a long-term home . Many companion animals will end up in a shelter. Some are playful puppies, some are old and terrified. Giving a pet a new home and a loving, permanent, family might save its life!

  • Stray dogs/feral cats and humane population management

    Millions of stray animals in EU Member States and neighbouring countries endure a life of cruelty. Often neglected and invisible, stray animals live at the margins of our society struggling every day for their survival. Educating communities and pushing local authorities to manage stray populations humanely is key to stop suffering!

  • Illegal pet trade and regulation of pet sales

    The increased demand for designer puppies has led to the emergence of a profitable business. Many unscrupulous breeders are producing animals for purely lucrative purposes, often in mass breeding facilities. Here animals are usually kept in dark, dirty housing and also frequently removed from the mother at a far too young age. This leads to poorly bred animals often sold in pet shops or via online classifieds sites. These dogs frequently suffer from behavioural issues and hereditary – sometime fatal – diseases. As perspective pet owners, many consumers are unaware about the risk associated with pet trade, driven by impulsive decisions and pushed to make an immediate purchase. Evidence suggest that even conscientious consumers might end up victim of the unscrupulous or illegal trade. Tackling consumer behaviour and demand for design breeds will directly impact the scale of supply. Regulation and enforcement of legislation around the sale of animals will protect animals from this cruel trade!

  • Pet traceability

    Currently pets are invisible in the EU as there is no legislation mandating their identification and registration. Making pets identifiable and traceable has many advantages. It ensures a decrease in lost animals, as reuniting them with their owners becomes easier. Also, when animals are moved for commercial purposes, it simplifies investigations into illegal trade. Passport data cross checking allows authorities to trace back the origin of the animals and the identity of their owner.
    • Extreme breeding - guidelines
    The high demand for pedigree and designer pets has led to the breeding of companion animals with compromised health. These animals are bred for exaggerated physical features – such as short, flat faces or wrinkled skin – which often are so extreme to cause suffering, predispose to health disorders or painful afflictions. Such breeding practices also result in lack of genetic diversity among companion animals. Breeding guidelines could help addressing this issue and the wide variation of rules that exist across EU Member States.

  • Extreme breeding - guidelines

    The high demand for pedigree and designer pets has led to the breeding of companion animals with compromised health. These animals are bred for exaggerated physical features – such as short, flat faces or wrinkled skin – which often are so extreme to cause suffering, predispose to health disorders or painful afflictions. Such breeding practices also result in lack of genetic diversity among companion animals. Breeding guidelines could help addressing this issue and the wide variation of rules that exist across EU Member States.

Horses and donkeys
Horses and donkeys
  • Transportation of horses in Europe

    Because of their versatility, equines are the animals that are transported the most during their life. Moved across Europe because of sport competitions or breeding and training purposes, these animals often travel for days. It is important to ensure that animal welfare standards are taken into account and that equines are fed appropriately and enjoy sufficient rest.

  • Irresponsible breeding

    Indiscriminate and unlimited equine breeding is resulting in an increased number of unwanted animals, often sold in local markets or online for little or no economic value. The cost of keeping an equine are underestimated. Educational projects and initiatives are essential to help owners make informed decision about the need to breed.

  • Horse traceability

    Good traceability is of crucial importance for guaranteeing responsible ownership of equine across the EU and beyond. Although EU law does mandate identification and registration of equines in databases (those born after 2009), authorities still face lack of understanding and enforcement of the existing legislation. This leads to major difficulties in tracing equines.

  • Abandonment and rehoming

    Thousands of horses, donkeys and their hybrids are abandoned, neglected, and in need of homes. In recent years loose, abandoned and fly-grazing equines have become an acute and expensive problem for society and authorities. If you consider rehoming instead of buying you offer a loving home to an equine who may have had a poor start in life. Adopting an equine also means that you free space in rescue and rehoming centres for more animals in need!

  • Lack of care and knowledge about responsible ownership

    Equines play many diverse roles in our society. Ensuring responsible ownership of horses, donkeys and their hybrids can sometimes be demanding. Equines have specific needs, such as an appropriate environment where to move sufficiently, regular exercise, social interaction and veterinary and hoof care . Too often the costs to meet these needs are underestimated. Educational programmes and guidelines on the keeping of equids may help equine owners to behave responsibly and to improve their equine care knowledge. We need the EU to adopt and disseminate guidelines for the keeping and care of equines!