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Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals

Scientific developments provide new opportunities. Always it has been so. Now is such a moment in time with the association of animal abuse and human violence being identified on a scale previously unseen. This concept, called ‘the LINK’ has been researched and validated in the USA for more than 30 years and identifies the connection between those who abuse animals and those who abuse humans. This is now being explored on a greater scale & scope in societies where violent animal abuse is extensive & where exposure of children to the violence has invited concerns of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.


During the 87th Session of the UN Committee, a recommendation was made to 'Evaluate & eliminate  societal violence against animals'. 

On September 18 2023 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child issued UN General Comment 26 providing authoritative clarity & guidance to nations under a 'strict obligation' to change practices, policies & laws to comply with the 'legally binding' UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Animal Rights were elevated into the Human Rights domain. GC26 includes :-  ‘Children must be protected from all forms of physical and psychological violence and from exposure to violence, such as domestic violence or violence inflicted on animals’.


Exposure to aggression and violence has been shown to impact on the psychological health of those who are significantly exposed, especially affecting children. It has been shown that exposure to regular aggression and violence can cause progressive desensitization thereby reducing the psychological impact of the violence but this also produces a reduction in affective empathy which is the ability to relate to the feelings of others. However, such abuse is prevalent in some  countries more than others.  In some countries, because of government policies and the numbers of ‘free roaming’ animals such abuse is common, with stray animal management policies preferring violent ‘eradication’ by catching and killing as opposed to policies advocated by the WHO and OIE to reduce numbers by adopting humane national neutering programs.

But no longer is this issue ONLY about animals. This is NOW about a negative impact on children and therefore on society. Animal abuse is no longer ONLY about animals… It IS about children exposed to it. It IS about societies where such abuse is endemic. It IS about the ‘Rights of the Child’. It IS about the ‘Shared Values’ of the European Union.

How can these serious issues be addressed? The solutions already exist but demand questions as to why they are not being enacted.

With the LINK, we now have a completely new concept to be considered by those authorities which have responsibility for Human Rights. Experiencing and witnessing violence and abuse impacts especially on the developing child who is exposed to this. In some countries animal abuse is endemic Government failure to implement the ratified Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals by introducing a national neutering program, fails to reduce this significant negative impact on the children of these societies. This absence of compliance is common to many countries in Eurasia...including  Azerbaijan, Romania & Turkey. Ukraine.

' 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. Such measures shall include the requirements that:

a 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.'
EUROPEAN CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF PET ANIMALS Chapter 3 Article 12                       

'Once the treaty enters into force in respect of a State, it becomes LEGALLY binding and the State MUST implement its provisions'.   FAQ Item 3

The primary declared function of the Council of Europe is Human Rights and its European Charter includes:

'The Charter lays specific emphasis on the protection of vulnerable persons such as elderly people, children, people with disabilities and migrants. It requires that enjoyment of the abovementioned rights be guaranteed without discrimination.' - CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION (2000/C 364/01) Article 24

Consideration of the negative impact identified by the LINK when enacted on a national scale invites assurances that the Charter is being consolidated by enactment of the Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals. But it is NOT !

Consequently, the questions which arise are:

A) Does the Council of Europe recognise that enforcement of the 'legally binding'  Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals would support the recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to protect the children from 'societal violence against animals'

B) Is the Council of Europe aware of the LINK and the vast body of research attesting to this concept evidencing the associations between animal abuse and human violence and abuse?

C) Is it aware of the negative impact on human health caused by exposure to significant public animal abuse? A situation which is prevalent  in a number of Member countries.

D) What powers does the Council have to ensure compliance with its Conventions and Charters? Why is it not ensuring compliance to a 'LEGALLY BINDING' Convention which 'MUST' be enacted by ratifying nations?

Simply, are the Treaties of the Council of Europe enforceable or are they an expensively cosmetic  consumption of public funds?

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