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Killing of healthy animals in farms, shelters, zoo parks, breeding farms and zoo shops will become legal


© FOUR PAWS | Mihai Vasile

The Bulgarian office of “Four Paws” alerts that the briefly adopted at first reading amendments to the Veterinary Laws and regulations are thoughtless/ ill-advised and open a loophole for killing of healthy animals in all types of animal facilities even when there are administrative violations. Although the changes were motivated by a desideration to limit the spread of disease and to improve control over the owners of livestock and domestic dogs, some parts of the texts will be impracticable, others are openly in favor of private interests, but as a whole, there is a serious setback from the principles of animal welfare. The proposed amendments clearly show the unwillingness and inability of the legislative and executive authorities to deal with these pressing problems.


“The changes were made in a scandalous way – in the dark, without the involvement of animal welfare organizations, professional and branch organizations; The opinions which were sent are not counted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food,” explains Dr. Marina Ivanova, Director of “Four Paws” Bulgaria. “The text does not meet the urgent need of measures to control trade, breeding, cultivation and movement of livestock and companion animals and in this way are once again focused on the consequences and not on the sources of problems. If the texts are adopted they will pave the massacre of thousands of healthy animals without leading to any significant result in limiting the spread of disease.”

According to the experts of the largest animal welfare organization in Bulgaria, a key issue in the texts is article 138, which creates order and procedure for killing animals on the spot in a certain animal facility in cases of violations of the veterinary requirements. The proposed procedure is unclear, inaccurate, stretchable, insufficiently justified and allowing for subjective assessment. 

“Four Paws” several times insisted on meeting the Minister of Agriculture and Food to discuss the situation and to work together in finding the best solution, however this was silently denied. Dr. Ivanova shares the concern that in the last 1-2 years there has been a clear trend of neglect of animal welfare in the structures of the Ministry of Agriculture. “Without explanation proven experts were removed, it is increasingly difficult to maintain a dialogue with the administration; there were adopted changes in regulations that are clearly contrary to the principles of animal welfare. We see this as a clear sign that the Ministry has returned to its policy before 10-20 years ago.”

The pack of changes in the Veterinary law and regulations also provides for disproportionate sanctions for walking a dog without a leash and it is not clear what the purpose of that measure is. At the same time, once again, the possibility for introducing microchipping of all dogs to be mandatory will not be considered, as well as stricter control on trading with animals. 

“Although it is clear even for children that uncontrolled breeding, trade and keeping of dogs and cats is the main reason for the presence of stray animals on the streets, the government and parliament refuse to hear about the introduction of measures for effective control,” says Dr. Ivanova. “The main sources of more and more abandoned animals are amateur breeders and hunters, but they will just continue to enjoy privileges. For us there is no doubt that this is done deliberately in this way to protect personal and corporate interests at the expense of the public good.” 

“Four Paws” already sent its statement to the members of the Committee on Agriculture and Food to the 43th National Assembly, where they insist the texts to be reviewed and refined. The organization has expressed its wish for one of their experts to attend the next committee meeting, when the changes will be discussed. 

Express your protest by sending an e-mail to:

Committee on Agriculture and Food to the 43rd National Assembly:


Separately to each of the committee members: