eu & international law

Find out more about EU & International Law relevant for the protection of companion animals


The EU can only pass legislation in certain areas of competence, defined by the EU Treaties that also foresee what powers the EU institutions have

For instance, the EU has exclusive competence and can pass laws in areas such as competition rules for the single market and trade. In other matters, such as agriculture, consumer protection and the single market, Member States share the competence to legislate with the EU, provided there is no existing or foreseen relevant EU legislation. The principles of subsidiarity and proportionality are central to the competences of the EU, meaning that the EU focusses on areas and matters that can not be efficiently regulated on Member State level, and without regulation exceeding the level required to attain the goals set by its Treaties. The most relevant EU law in the field of companion animals includes:  

Further, the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, being a treaty of the Council of Europe and thus not EU law, aims to reach a level of understanding among signing countries on the promotion of the welfare of pet animals and ensure minimum standards for their treatment. Signed in 1987 and effective as of 1992, the Convention has been ratified by 24 states. Many EU member states used the basic provisions for the treatment and care of companion animals as a base when drafting national legislation.