The Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals is the focal point for animal welfare in the European Parliament. It is open to all MEPs that are eager to debate and promote this policy issue.
The Intergroup provides updates and background information on animal related issues which are being discussed within the Institutions and raises awareness about burning conservation issues on a global level. The monthly 1 hour meetings, usually organised on Thursday mornings during the plenary sessions in Strasbourg invite experts, stakeholders, rapporteurs and members of the European Commission and member states to exchange views on topical animal welfare issues. Such in depth debates are often difficult to organize in the EP committees which have to deal with a very large number of different dossiers.
Bringing citizens’ concerns on animal welfare to the doorstep of the MEPs:
The Animal Welfare Intergroup is one of the first-established and longest running in the European Parliament. Over the years, it has become more and more not only a forum of debate but also a catalyst for action. It has been at the forefront of new initiatives like the EU ban on the import and trade of seal products or the call for a ban on the cloning of animals for food supply which has been strongly supported by the whole House.
The Intergroup also scrutinises the performance of other EU institutions regarding their animal protection responsibilities.
Each MEP receives an invitation to participate to every meeting and Members who cannot attend in person can send their assistant as an observer. The meetings of the Intergroup are also open to the public and are often attended by a large number of interested parties, including Commission officials, industry and NGOs.
The President of the Intergroup chairs the meetings. He or she is appointed every two and a half years and every effort is made to rotate the presidency between political groups and nationalities.
Working closely with the President is a group of 14 Vice-Presidents that reflects the various political groups represented in the Parliament together with an Honorary President and an Honorary Secretary. Together with the secretariat, these form the Bureau which decides on the day-to-day running of the Intergroup, including its agenda and reporting.
The open and inclusive nature of the Intergroup means that there is no need to become a member in order to attend the meetings. Besides the list of official Intergroup Members which is published on the European Parliament website, a list of active Members is compiled based on recent attendance at Intergroup meetings.
The secretariat is provided by Eurogroup for Animals, a non-profit non-governmental organisation based in Brussels. Eurogroup has carried out this role since the creation of the Intergroup in 1983 and it supplies a wealth of experience and expertise drawn from its 50 member organisations spread throughout Europe.
The Intergroup receives no commercial or private sponsorship, nor any financial assistance from the other EU institutions.