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Summary of the "European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals" is available from the UNEP Register of International Treaties and Other Agreements in the Field of the Environment.

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EUROPEAN CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF PET 
ANIMALS

Strasbourg, 13 November 1987


The member States of the Council of Europe, signatory 
hereto:

Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to 
achieve a greater unity between its Members,

Recognising that man has a moral obligation to respect 
all living creatures and bearing in mind that pet 
animals have a special relationship with man,

Considering the importance of pet animals in 
contributing to the quality of life and their consequent 
value to society,

Considering the difficulties arising from the enormous 
variety of animals which are kept by man,

Considering the risks which are inherent in pet animal 
overpopulation for the hygiene, health and safety of man 
and of other animals,

Considering that the keeping of specimens of wild fauna 
as pet animals should not be encouraged,

Aware of the different conditions which govern the 
acquisition, keeping, commercial and non-commercial 
breeding and the disposal of and trading in pet animals,

Aware that pet animals are not always kept in 
conditions that promote their health and well-being,

Noting that attitudes towards pet animals vary widely, 
sometimes because of limited knowledge and awareness,

Considering that a basic common standard of attitude 
and practice which results in responsible pet ownership 
is not only a desirable, but a realistic goal,

Have agreed as follows:


Chapter I

GENERAL PROVISIONS


Article 1 

DEFINITIONS

1. By pet animal is meant any animal kept or intended to 
be kept by man, in particular in his household, for 
private enjoyment and companionship.

2. By trading in pet animals is meant all regular 
business transactions in substantial quantities carried 
out for profit which involve the change of ownership of 
pet animals.

3. By commercial breeding and boarding is meant breeding 
or boarding mainly for profit and in substantial 
quantities.

4. By animal sanctuary is meant a non-profit making 
establishment where pet animals may be kept in 
substantial numbers. If national legislative and/or 
administrative measures permit, such an establishment 
may accept stray animals.

5. By a stray animal is meant a pet animal which either 
has no home or is outside the bounds of its owner's or 
keeper's household and is not under the control or 
direct supervision of any owner or keeper.

6. By competent authority is meant the authority 
designated by the member State.


Article 2

SCOPE AND IMPLEMENTATION

1. Each Party undertakes to take the necessary steps to 
give effect to the provisions of this Convention in 
respect of:

(a) pet animals kept by a person or legal entity in any 
household or in any establishment for trading, for 
commercial breeding and boarding, and in animal 
sanctuaries;

(b) where appropriate, stray animals.

2. Nothing in this Convention shall affect the 
implementation of other instruments for the protection 
of animals or for the conservation of threatened wild 
species.

3. Nothing in this Convention shall affect the liberty 
of the Parties to adopt stricter measures for the 
protection of pet animals or to apply the provisions 
contained herein to categories of animals which have not 
been mentioned expressly in this instrument.


Chapter II

PRINCIPLES FOR THE KEEPING OF PET ANIMALS


Article 3 

BASIC PRINCIPLES FOR ANIMAL WELFARE

1. Nobody shall cause a pet animal unnecessary pain, 
suffering or distress.

2. Nobody shall abandon a pet animal.


Article 4

KEEPING

1. Any person who keeps a pet animal or who has agreed 
to look after it shall be responsible for its health and 
welfare.

2. Any person who is keeping a pet animal or who is 
looking after it shall provide accommodation, care and 
attention which take account of the ethological needs of 
the animal in accordance with its species and breed, in 
particular:

(a) give it suitable and sufficient food and water;

(b) provide it with adequate opportunities for exercise;

(c) take all reasonable measures to prevent its escape;

3. An animal shall not be kept as a pet animal if:

(a) the conditions of paragraph 2 above are not met or 
if,

(b) in spite of these conditions being met, the animal 
cannot adapt itself to captivity.


Article 5

BREEDING

Any person who selects a pet animal for breeding shall 
be responsible for having regard to the anatomical, 
physiological and behavioural characteristics which are 
likely to put at risk the health and welfare of either 
the offspring or the female parent.


Article 6

AGE-LIMIT ON ACQUISITION

No pet animal shall be sold to persons under the age of 
16 without the express consent of their parents or other 
persons exercising parental responsibilities.


Article 7

TRAINING

No pet animal shall be trained in a way that is 
detrimental to its health and welfare, especially by 
forcing it to exceed its natural capacities or strength 
or by employing artificial aids which cause injury or 
unnecessary pain, suffering or distress.


Article 8

TRADING, COMMERCIAL BREEDING AND BOARDING, ANIMAL 
SANCTUARIES

1. Any person who, at the time of the entry into force 
of the Convention, is trading in or is commercially 
breeding or boarding pet animals or is operating an 
animal sanctuary shall, within an appropriate period to 
be determined by each Party, declare this to the 
competent authority.

Any person who intends to engage in any of these 
activities shall declare this intention to the competent 
authority.

2. This declaration shall stipulate:

(a) the species of pet animals which are involved or to 
be involved;

(b) the person responsible and his knowledge;

(c) a description of the premises and equipment used or 
to be used.

3. The above-mentioned activities may be carried out 
only:

(a) if the person responsible has the knowledge and 
abilities required for the activity either as a result 
of professional training or of sufficient experience 
with pet animals; and

(b) if the premises and the equipment used for the
activity comply with the requirements set out in
Article 4.

4. The competent authority shall determine on the basis 
of the declaration made under the provisions of 
paragraph 1 whether or not the conditions set out in 
paragraph 3 are being complied with. If these conditions 
are not adequately met, it shall recommend measures and, 
if necessary for the welfare of the animals, it shall 
prohibit the commencement or continuation of the 
activity.

5. The competent authority shall, in accordance with 
national legislation, supervise whether or not the 
above-mentioned conditions are complied with.


Article 9 

ADVERTISING, ENTERTAINMENT, EXHIBITIONS, COMPETITIONS 
AND SIMILAR EVENTS

1. Pet animals shall not be used in advertising, 
entertainment, exhibitions, competitions and similar 
events unless:

(a) the organiser has created appropriate conditions for 
the pet animals to be treated in accordance with the 
requirements of Article 4, paragraph 2, and

(b) the pet animals' health and welfare are not put at 
risk.

2. No substances shall be given to, treatments applied 
to, or devices used on a pet animal for the purpose of 
increasing or decreasing its natural level of 
performance:

(a) during competition or

(b) at any other time, when this would put at risk the 
health and welfare of the animal.


Article 10 

SURGICAL OPERATIONS

1. Surgical operations for the purpose of modifying the 
appearance of a pet animal or for other noncurative 
purposes shall be prohibited and, in particular:

(a) the docking of tails;

(b) the cropping of ears;

(c) devocalisation;

(d) declawing and defanging.

2. Exceptions to these prohibitions shall be permitted 
only:

(a) if a veterinarian considers non-curative procedures 
necessary either for veterinary medical reasons or for 
the benefit of any particular animal;

(b) to prevent reproduction.

3. (a) Operations in which the animal will or is likely 
to experience severe pain shall be carried out under 
anaesthesia only by a veterinarian or under his 
supervision.

(b) Operations for which no anaesthesia is required may 
be carried out by a person competent under national 
legislation.


Article 11 

KILLING

1. Only a veterinarian or another competent person shall 
kill a pet animal except in an emergency to terminate an 
animal's suffering when veterinary or other competent 
assistance cannot be quickly obtained or in any other 
emergency covered by national legislation. All killing 
shall be done with the minimum of physical and mental 
suffering appropriate to the circumstances. The method 
chosen, except in an emergency, shall either:

(a) cause immediate loss of consciousness and death, or

(b) begin with the induction of deep general anaesthesia 
to be followed by a step which will ultimately and 
certainly cause death.

The person responsible for the killing shall make sure 
that the animal is dead before the carcass is disposed 
of.

2. The following methods of killing shall be prohibited:

(a) drowning and other methods of suffocation if they do 
not produce the effects required in subparagraph 1(b);

(b) the use of any poisonous substance or drug, the dose 
and application of which cannot be controlled so as to 
give the effect mentioned in paragraph 1;

(c) electrocution unless preceded by immediate induction 
of loss of consciousness.


Chapter III

SUPPLEMENTARY MEASURES FOR STRAY ANIMALS


Article 12

REDUCTION OF NUMBERS

When a Party considers that the numbers of stray 
animals present it with a problem, it shall take the 
appropriate legislative and/or administrative measures 
necessary to reduce their numbers in a way which does 
not cause avoidable pain, suffering or distress.

(a) Such measures shall include the requirements that:

(i) if such animals are to be captured, this is done 
with the minimum of physical and mental suffering 
appropriate to the animal;
(ii) whether captured animals are kept or killed, this 
is done in accordance with the principles laid down in 
this Convention.

(b) Parties undertake to consider:

(i) providing for dogs and cats to be permanently 
identified by some appropriate means which causes little 
or no enduring pain, suffering or distress, such as 
tattooing as well as recording the numbers in a register 
together with the names and addresses of their owners;
(ii) reducing the unplanned breeding of dogs and cats 
by promoting the neutering of these animals;
(iii) encouraging the finder of a stray dog or cat to 
report it to the competent authority.


Article 13 

EXCEPTIONS FOR CAPTURE, KEEPING AND KILLING

Exceptions to the principles laid down in this 
Convention for the capture, the keeping and the killing 
of stray animals may be made only if unavoidable in the 
framework of national disease control programmes.


Chapter IV

INFORMATION AND EDUCATION


Article 14 

INFORMATION AND EDUCATION PROGRAMMES

The Parties undertake to encourage the development of 
information and education programmes so as to promote 
awareness and knowledge amongst organisations and 
individuals concerned with the keeping, breeding, 
training, trading and boarding of pet animals of the 
provisions and the principles in this Convention. In 
these programmes, attention shall be drawn in particular 
to the following subjects:

(a) the need for training of pet animals for any 
commercial or competitive purpose to be carried out by 
persons with adequate knowledge and ability;

(b) the need to discourage:

(i) gifts of pet animals to persons under the age of 16 
without the express consent of their parents or other 
persons exercising parental responsibilities;
(ii) gifts of pet animals as prizes, awards or bonuses;
(iii) unplanned breeding of pet animals;

(c) the possible negative consequences for the health 
and well-being of wild animals if they were to be 
acquired or introduced as pet animals;

(d) the risks of irresponsible acquisition of pet 
animals leading to an increase in the number of unwanted 
and abandoned animals.


Chapter V

MULTILATERAL CONSULTATIONS


Article 15

MULTILATERAL CONSULTATIONS

1. The Parties shall, within five years from the entry 
into force of the Convention and every five years 
thereafter, and, in any case, whenever a majority of the 
representatives of the Parties so request, hold 
multilateral consultations within the Council of Europe 
to examine the application of the Convention and the 
advisability of revising it or extending any of its 
provisions. These consultations shall take place at 
meetings convened by the Secretary General of the 
Council of Europe.

2. Each Party shall have the right to appoint a 
representative to participate in these consultations. 
Any member State of the Council of Europe which is not a 
Party to the Convention shall have the right to be 
represented by an observer in these consultations.

3. After each consultation, the Parties shall submit to 
the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe a 
report on the consultation and on the functioning of the 
Convention including, if they consider it necessary, 
proposals for the amendment of Articles 15 to 23 of the 
Convention.

4. Subject to the provisions of this Convention, the 
Parties shall draw up the rules of procedure for the 
consultations.


Chapter VI

AMENDMENTS


Article 16

AMENDMENTS

1. Any amendment to Articles 1 to 14 proposed by a Party 
or the Committee of Ministers shall be communicated to 
the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and 
forwarded by him to the member States of the Council of 
Europe, to any Party and to any State invited to accede 
to the Convention in accordance with the provisions of 
Article 19.

2. Any amendment proposed in accordance with the 
provisions of the preceding paragraph shall be examined 
at a multilateral consultation not less than two months 
after the date of forwarding by the Secretary General 
where it may be adopted by a two-thirds majority of the 
Parties. The text adopted shall be forwarded to the 
Parties.

3. Twelve months after its adoption at a multilateral 
consultation, any amendment shall enter into force 
unless one of the Parties has notified objection.


Chapter VII

FINAL PROVISIONS


Article 17

SIGNATURE, RATIFICATION, ACCEPTANCE, APPROVAL

This Convention shall be open for signature by the 
member States of the Council of Europe. It is subject to 
ratification, acceptance or approval. Instruments of 
ratification, acceptance or approval shall be deposited 
with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.


Article 18
 
ENTRY INTO FORCE

1. This Convention shall enter into force on the first 
day of the month following the expiration of a period of 
six months after the date on which four member States of 
the Council of Europe have expressed their consent to be 
bound by the Convention in accordance with the 
provisions of Article 17.

2. In respect of any member State which subsequently 
expresses its consent to be bound by it, the Convention 
shall enter into force on the first day of the month 
following the expiration of a period of months after the 
date of the deposit of the instrument of ratification, 
acceptance or approval.


Article 19

ACCESSION OF NON-MEMBER STATES

1. After the entry into force of this Convention, the 
Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe may 
invite any State not a member of the Council of Europe 
to accede to this Convention, by a decision taken by the 
majority provided for in Article 20(d) of the Statute of 
the Council of Europe and by the unanimous vote of the 
representatives of the Contracting States entitled to 
sit on the Committee of Ministers.

2. In respect of any acceding State, the Convention 
shall enter into force on the first day of the month 
following the expiration of a period of six months after 
the date of deposit of the instrument of accession with 
the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.


Article 20

TERRITORIAL CLAUSE

1. Any State may, at the time of signature or when 
depositing its instrument of ratification, acceptance, 
approval or accession, specify the territory or 
territories to which this Convention shall apply.

2. Any Party may, at any later date, by a declaration 
addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of 
Europe, extend the application of this Convention to any 
other territory, specified in the declaration. In 
respect of such territory the Convention shall enter 
into force on the first day of the month following the 
expiration of a period of six months after the date of 
receipt of such declaration by the Secretary General.

3. Any declaration made under the two preceding 
paragraphs may, in respect of any territory specified in 
such declaration, be withdrawn by a notification 
addressed to the Secretary General. The withdrawal shall 
become effective on the first day of the month following 
the expiration of a period of six months after the date 
of receipt of such notification by the Secretary 
General.


Article 21

RESERVATIONS

1. Any State may, at the time of signature or when 
depositing its instrument of ratification, acceptance, 
approval or accession, declare that it avails itself of 
one or more reservations in respect of Article 6 and 
Article 10, paragraph 1, sub-paragraph (a). No other 
reservation may be made.

2. Any Party which has made a reservation under the 
preceding paragraph may wholly or partly withdraw it by 
means of a notification addressed to the Secretary 
General of the Council of Europe. The withdrawal shall 
take effect on the date of receipt of such notification 
by the Secretary General.

3. A Party which has made a reservation in respect of a 
provision of this Convention may not invoke the 
application of that provision by any other Party; it 
may, however, if its reservation is partial or 
conditional, invoke the application of that provision 
insofar as it has itself accepted it.


Article 22

DENUNCIATION

1. Any Party may at any time denounce this Convention by 
means of a notification addressed to the Secretary 
General of the Council of Europe.

2. Such denunciation shall become effective on the first 
day of the month following the expiration of a period of 
six months after the date of receipt of the notification 
by the Secretary General.


Article 23

NOTIFICATIONS

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe shall 
notify the member States of the Council of Europe, and 
any State which has acceded to this Convention or has 
been invited to do so, of:

(a) any signature;

(b) the deposit of any instrument of ratification, 
acceptance, approval or accession;

(c) any date of entry into force of this Convention in 
accordance with Articles 18, l9 and 20;

(d) any other act, notification or communication 
relating to this Convention.

In witness whereof the undersigned, being duly 
authorised thereto, have signed this Convention.

Done at Strasbourg, this 13th day of November 1987, in 
English and French, both texts being equally authentic, 
in a single copy which shall be deposited in the 
archives of the Council of Europe. The Secretary General 
of the Council of Europe shall transmit certified copies 
to each member State of the Council of Europe, and to 
any State invited to accede to this Convention.