Lib Dem MEP Phil Bennion has been told by the European Commission that top vets have inspected dog shelters in Serbia after complaints of cruelty.
The Euro MP had put down a Parliamentary question after a constituent raised allegations of cruelty to dogs at many animal shelters in Serbia, which is a candidate nation seeking to join the European Union.
Campaigners claimed that in one shelter at Pozega, dogs were routinely being kept indoors, starved, beaten and injected with T61 to put them down without proper sedatives or preparation.
In a written answer to the MEP, EU Commissioner Štefan Füle says that while the management of stray animals was not covered by the accession process directly, the issue of animal welfare was of great concern to the Commission.
“Nevertheless, the Serbian government has informed the Commission that, following several complaints regarding the situation in dog shelters in Pozega, the Serbian Veterinary Directorate carried out an official control (inspection) on 9th May 2013.
“Following this control it was concluded that the shelter satisfied all general and specific conditions according to the Serbian legislation on animal welfare.”
Phil Bennion MEP said: “I am pleased to hear that the Commissioner has raised these allegations with the Serbian authorities and that they led to an inspection. While not strictly part of the accession process, Article 13 of European Union’s founding Treaty requires all member states to pay full regard to animal welfare.
“The inspection found that the Pozega dog shelter was now meeting legal requirements. I hope this means that action was taken to end poor practice and that proper standards will be maintained in future. I will continue to monitor reports on this issue.
“As a farmer myself I am very committed to animal welfare and appreciate the help the EU can give to raise standards across Europe.
“I strongly support enlarging the EU to include new countries in Eastern Europe such as Serbia. Croatia joined on July 1st and it is beyond doubt that the country’s transformation into a stable democracy with high standards in public life has been helped by the EU’s tough entry requirements.”
Note: Phil Bennion MEP’s Parliamentary question to the Commission on Animal Welfare in Serbia and the Commissioner’s response can be seen here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+WQ+E-2013-005695+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=en