THE CAROcat PROJECT and WEBSITE
A practical information system for policymakers, scientists, experts, veterinarians, shelters, private keepers, teachers, breeders, lawyers, economists, NGOs and interested citizens.
THE ANIMAL WELFARE CONCERN
In the EU Member States, there is an increasing and unsolved problem of free-roaming cats suffering due to the current feline overpopulation issue. Nowadays feline overpopulation is seen as a community problem which originates mainly in the failure of citizens to provide cats with responsible ownership and the failure to manage the free-roaming cat population adequately. As sentient beings, cats fall under the scope of Article 13 of the TFEU and their suffering is not acceptable for today’s European society. All cats, as sentient beings, experience feelings of fear, stress, hunger and thirst, and so we are obliged, in the deep, ethical sense, to solve the problem of unowned cats, whose numbers are increasing rapidly due to uncontrolled reproduction. The EU and the Member States must pay full regard to their welfare requirements in formulating and implementing relevant policies to address this problem.
A science-based, sustainable and ethically acceptable strategy, which means applying the so-called “no kill” strategy and not killing healthy animals, must be developed and implemented to obtain a cultural change in European society towards responsible cat ownership.
On the CAROcat website, you will find information about strategies for reducing the number of stray cats in this way. Furthermore, you will have access to relevant information on cat health, behaviour and welfare in Europe, and to all existing legislation regarding responsible cat ownership, together with numerous data and documents on popular actions by citizens, initiatives by NGOs and public entities working on the no-kill free-roaming cat population management method. Reliable and science-based information and approved facts and figures are hard to find, or else do not exist – and this is part of the problem. At this stage, European citizens are showing great interest in companion animal welfare, and in November 2010 the European Council mandated the European Commission to initiate research on how companion animals are regarded for future actions of the European Union.
GOAL OF THIS WEBSITE
The CAROcat website is a concrete attempt to provide, generate and disseminate reliable knowledge about cats in Europe, focusing on feline overpopulation and, in consequence, on all resulting animal welfare problems. To provide an innovative contribution to a systematic approach to feline population management is the main purpose of this site, starting from responsible ownership as the basis of individual and community commitment to cat welfare.
SOLUTION STRATEGY FOR TACKLING THE SUFFERING OF CATS: RESPONSIBLE OWNERSHIP
The only way to stop feline overpopulation is to adopt a Europe-wide, systematic, multidisciplinary and comprehensive approach to the problem: a combination of measures including the elements of systematic cat birth control in place of killing animals, veterinary prevention, Identification and Registration, information, education, political and legal activities. Such a concept, lasting around ten years, has to be developed collaboratively by communities with local NGOs and veterinarians. It should include all concerned
parties and private keepers, and should be supported by local media.
BEHIND THE WEBSITE
The initiators are the international animal welfare organisation VIER PFOTEN/FOUR PAWS, founded and based in Austria – particularly its European Policy Office in Brussels, Belgium – and the Istituto “G.Caporale” in Teramo, Italy, the OIE Collaborating Centre for veterinary training, epidemiology, food safety and animal welfare. The European Commission and the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) and the Advisory Board for Cat Diseases (ABCD) are supporting the website with their expertise and have agreed to place their representatives on its editorial board. Together they are creating a reliable knowledge-based system.