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Promoting responsible pet ownership

CARO database
Companion animals


Promoting responsible pet ownership

CARO's Focus & Positions

CARO’s vision is to make the EU a better place for companion animals

CARO promotes responsible ownership of companion animals with the aim of preventing companion animal abuse, abandonment, and overpopulation in Europe. Our final objective is that every dog and cat in Europe is identified, registered, and has a responsible, well-informed owner.

What does CARO stand for?

CARO stands for Companion Animal Responsible Ownership. 

How does CARO work?

CARO believes that responsible pet ownership is at the center of companion animal welfare, but it needs to be strengthened through the creation and enforcement of animal-friendly legislation at EU and member-state level. Supported by the European Commission, CARO brings together experts on animal welfare, veterinary public health, and policy to provide reliable knowledge about preventive veterinary care, animal/breeder/keeper traceability, humane and non-lethal population control, and management as well as professional education. Our aim is to improve the lives of companion animals by providing a comprehensive database of legislation, policies and best practices within the EU. In addition, CARO provides information for pet owners to promote responsible ownership. 

Why was CARO created?

While many owners view their pets as part of their family, a considerable number of companion animals are still exposed to various dangers in Europe and worldwide. They are being abused, abandoned, used for entertainment purposes, exploited in animal testing, or shipped across Europe to fuel the illegal pet trade. The situation is aggravated by unsustainable and inhumane population control practices utilised by some public authorities. These practices not only cause severe suffering for the affected individuals, but they also fail to address the root cause for overpopulation: every unowned pet was likely once a kept pet or is the offspring of one. CARO was created to promote responsible pet ownership with the goal of addressing this root cause for stray animal overpopulation. 

CARO's Focus and Positions

Find out more about CARO's focus and positions in this section!

CARO Database

On these pages, you will find all relevant legislation at EU level affecting dogs, cats, and ferrets, as well as information for (future) companion animal owners related to our core topics.

CARO for pet owners

Are you a (future) companion animal owner? Visit this section to receive information and advice on responsible ownership!

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CARO at EU level

Are you interested in EU legislation and institutions relevant for companion animals? Visit this site to learn more about it!


Our Structure

The CARO project is a collaboration of different European institutions under the lead of FOUR PAWS. The other project partners are the European Commission, the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe, the Advisory Board on Cat Diseases and the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell'Abruzzo e del Molise "Giuseppe Caporale".


FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. The organisation focuses on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. 

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The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe represents veterinary associations from 38 European countries, veterinary practitioners, state veterinary officers and practitioners and veterinarians working in education, research, and industry.

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The Advisory Board on Cat Diseases is an expert group of veterinarians and scientists for feline research in Europe. Through its evidence-based veterinary medicine (EBVM) approach it promotes better vaccine use, disease prevention and control. 

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The Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell'Abruzzo e del Molise "Giuseppe Caporale" is a public health institute, which operates as a technical and scientific arm for the public veterinary health services.

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Do you have any questions?

Please feel free to get in touch. Contact us here.