Poland

C
Poland
Recognising animal protection

Recognising animal protection

This theme examines recognition of animal sentience and the importance of animal protection as a societal value within the country, including government support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare, prohibition of cruelty and protection for different categories of animals.

C

Formal recognition of animal sentience

There is legislation with partial application

The government has taken steps to recognise some of the components of animal sentience, as most of the norms fall under the premise of animals’ capacity to suffer. Article 1(1) of the Animal Protection Act 1997 states that “The animal as a living creature, capable of suffering, is not a thing”. This Act relates to vertebrates and does not apply to scientific experiments, which are separately regulated (Article 2).

At European Union level, Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union recognises animal sentience and requires that Member States pay regard to animals’ welfare requirements in formulating and implementing European Union policies.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The recognition of animals’ ability to suffer is the starting point for animal protection legislation in Poland. This is a strong basis that can be extended to include other elements of sentience.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The existing recognition of the capacity of animals to suffer as the basis of animal protection legislation, together with the acknowledgment that animals are not mere “things”, suggests that there are very low barriers to improvement in this area to reach a formal recognition of animal sentience.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are enforcement mechanisms (including fines and imprisonment) relating to the legislation that is based on the recognition of animals’ ability to suffer.

D

Support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare

There is partial government support

In 2009 the 27 Agriculture Ministers of the European Council, including from Poland, unanimously approved a statement on the UDAW encouraging the European Commission to support and initiate further international initiatives to raise awareness and create a greater consensus on animal welfare, and inviting the Member States and the Commission to support the UDAW initiative.[1]

Beyond this European Union support, the government does not appear to have made any independent commitments with respect to the UDAW.

Note: The Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare is a proposed formal international acknowledgment of a set of principles giving animal welfare due recognition among governments and the international community. An expression of support for the UDAW demonstrates a government’s commitment to working with the international community to improve animal welfare.

 

[1] http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/en/agricult/106877.pdf

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Support for the UDAW can have a significant role in making the concept of animal welfare a mainstream concern of society. However there is no apparent evidence that the European Union’s support for the UDAW has had a direct consequence on the country’s discussions on animal welfare. 

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

Considering the scope of the country’s existing animal welfare legislation and policy and the support for the UDAW at European Union level, it would appear that there are no significant barriers to the government pledging in principle support for the UDAW.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are no enforcement mechanisms relevant to this indicator.

B

Laws against causing animal suffering

There is legislation

Cruelty to animals is prohibited by Article 6(1a) of the Animal Protection Act 1997 and defined by Article 6(2) as the deliberate infliction, or permitting the infliction of, pain or suffering. Article 6(2) gives particular examples of cruelty, including: intentional mutilation other than permitted by law; freeze or brand marking warm blooded animals; using ill, young or old animals for performance; beating; overworking; transporting in a way that causes unnecessary suffering and stress; restraining in an unnatural position causing unnecessary pain; illegal surgery; malignant irritation; keeping animals in inadequate conditions; abandonment; cruel methods in farming; organising animal fights; bestiality; exposure to health threatening weather; transport or keeping fish for sale without sufficient water to breathe; and withholding food or water for a time beyond the minimum necessary.

This legislation therefore includes prohibiting causing suffering through failure to act, for example by keeping animals in inadequate conditions.

This law does not apply to animals used in experiments, which are separately regulated (Article 2). Article 38 of the Act on Experiments with Animals 2005 prohibits exposing experimental animals to unnecessary pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm to their body.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The scope of the current legislation is far-reaching and detailed.

The Animal Protection Act 1997 promotes animal welfare by providing for implementation to be carried out not only by competent bodies of state administration and local government but also by veterinary bodies and public organisations that have animal protection as their statutory objective of activity. Articles 39 and 40 specifically provide for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty in Poland and other animal protection public organisations to act as ancillary prosecutor alongside state and local authorities in disclosure and prosecution of cruelty offences.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

Animal protection organisations report that there is a low level of general concern for animal welfare in society that presents a barrier to enforcement of the law.[1] 

 

[1] http://www.animalconference.eu/presentations/files/Poland_Situation.pdf

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Commission of a cruelty offence under Article 6 of the Animal Protection Act 1997 is punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to two years, increased to three years in cases of particular cruelty, and with confiscation of the animal if the offender is the owner. The court is also able to prohibit the offender from owning animals from one to ten years, to ban them from working with animals, and to award a fine of PLN 25 to 2,500 for the benefit of animal protection (for example, for the benefit of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Poland) (Article 35).

Breach of the prohibition in Article 38 of the Act on Experiments with Animals 2005 is punishable with fines and imprisonment for up to a year.

B

Protecting animals used in farming

There is legislation

The general anti-cruelty provisions of Article 6 of the Animal Protection Act 1997 apply to this category of animals, including to fish. Particularly relevant are the prohibitions on branding and freeze-marking and keeping animals in inadequate living conditions including in rooms or cages that prevent them adopting natural positions.

Chapter 3 of the Animal Protection Act 1997 deals specifically with the protection of livestock. There are provisions relating particularly to broiler chickens.

Article 12 requires that keepers of livestock must provide care and proper living conditions.

The Act envisages the production of detailed regulations by the Minster responsible for agriculture on various specified issues including minimum conditions and standards for specific species of farmed animals.

An example of such secondary legislation is the Regulation of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, 9 September 2004, on the qualifications of persons entitled to a professional slaughter and the conditions and methods of slaughter and killing animals. This Regulation provides that during transport, handling and slaughter, the animals shall be protected from stress, pain or suffering, and that slaughterhouses should be constructed in a way that protects the animals from unnecessary anxiety as well as pain and suffering.

In addition to the prohibitions on transporting animals in a way that causes unnecessary suffering and stress and on transporting or keeping for sale fish in insufficient amount of water for them to breathe, European Union Regulation 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport makes detailed rules about the transport of different species of animals and has direct effect within Poland.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The Minister responsible for agriculture has powers to set detailed rules for the conditions that farm animals should be kept in (Chapter 3, Animal Protection Act 1997). These rules have been made, but this tends to have been done in order to comply with European Union requirements, and there seems to be a generally low level of implementation and enforcement across the country. For example, in February 2013 the European Commission issued a letter of formal notice to the country for its failure to comply with the European Union’s ban on the use of sow farrowing stalls.[1]

A 2010 European Union evaluation of the implementation of its farm animal welfare legislation noted that Poland had been given a long period of time to bring its legislation into line with European Union requirements.[2] Opinion polling commissioned by the European Commission demonstrated widespread support for farm animal welfare amongst Polish people, although the level of concern was much lower than in most other European Union Member States.[3]

 

[1] http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-135_en.htm

[2] http://www.econwelfare.eu/publications/EconWelfareD1.2Report_update_Nov2...

[3] http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/welfare/survey/sp_barometer_aw_en.pdf

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

It is positive that the government has introduced detailed legislation to protect the welfare of farmed animals. However, the fact that the driver has been the need to move towards compliance with European Union requirements, and the apparently low level of implementation and enforcement across the country, suggest that this is not a priority for government work and that there are still structural barriers to improving the welfare of this category of animals.

It is also noted that the European Commission called on Poland via letters of formal notice in 2012 and 2013 to require the government to take action to implement the requirements of European Union Directives in relation to banning barren battery cages for laying hens (Directive 1999/74)[1] and housing for pregnant sows (Directive 2008/120).[2]

 

[1] http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-12-47_en.htm

[2] http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-135_en.htm

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Commission of a cruelty offence is punishable by a fine or imprisonment, and with confiscation, with the possibility of a ban on owning or working with animals and/or paying a fine to an animal protection organisation (Article 35 Animal Protection Act 1997).  The same enforcement mechanisms exist for breach of the provisions relating to farm animals under Chapter 3 (Article 35).

C

Protecting animals in captivity

There is legislation

The general anti-cruelty provisions of Article 6 of the Animal Protection Act 1997 apply to this category of animals.

Particularly relevant is the prohibition on keeping animals in inadequate conditions.

Chapter 3 of the Nature Protection Act 2004 regulates the operation of zoos. Article 70 of that Act envisages that the Minister responsible for the environment will make detailed regulations. However the Act does not apply to zoos that have fewer than 15 species and fewer than 50 individual animals on display to the public. Zoos are required to be licenced (Article 67) and can only keep species of animals whose biological needs can be met.

The 2004 Regulation on conditions for husbandry and keeping of respective groups of species in zoological gardens (RZ12/2004) makes detailed provisions; the Annex to the Regulation provides species-specific minimum standards.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Although there is detailed regulation in this area, it appears that there is a low level of implementation and enforcement across the country, suggesting that the existing legislation needs further policy implementation in order to make the welfare of this category of animals a mainstream concern of society. For example, the European Union Zoo Inquiry 2011 reported a low standard of animal care in many zoos and observed many cases where an animal’s welfare was compromised.[1]

The exclusion of small zoological collections from the regulation of Chapter 3 of the Nature Protection Act 2004 may also increase the potential for poor welfare in such facilities.

 

[1] http://www.bornfree.org.uk/zooreports/Poland-en/

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The European Union Zoo Inquiry 2011 found that over half of the animal enclosures inspected failed to meet the minimum standards required by the Regulation on the “conditions for husbandry and keeping respective groups of species in zoological gardens”.[1] The licensing requirements are also unclear and the need for inspections prior to licensing is not stated in the legislation. Therefore it appears that, despite the existence of legislation on this subject, there remain significant barriers to improvement in this area.

 

[1] http://www.bornfree.org.uk/zooreports/Poland-en/

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Commission of a cruelty offence is punishable by a fine or imprisonment, and with confiscation, with the possibility of a ban on owning or working with animals and/or paying a fine to an animal protection organisation (Article 35 Animal Protection Act 1997). Zoo inspection is administered at a regional level.

C

Protecting companion animals

There is legislation

The general anti-cruelty provisions of Article 6 of the Animal Protection Act 1997 apply to all vertebrates in this category of animals. Particularly relevant are the prohibitions on intentional mutilation, keeping animals in inadequate conditions, and abandonment.

Chapter 2 of the Animal Protection Act 1997 makes specific provisions to protect pets. Pet keepers are obliged to provide pets with protection from cold, heat and rain, access to daylight, room to move, adequate food and constant access to water (Article 9(1)). Keeping an animal tethered for up to 12 hours a day is allowed according to Article 9(2), as long as a certain freedom of movement is possible and injuries are avoided.
Anyone who finds an abandoned dog or cat is required to notify an animal shelter, fire authority or police (Article 9a).

Article 10a(2) prohibits commercial breeding of cats and dogs.

Stray population control is the responsibility of individual municipalities (Article 9(11)). Provisions for the capture of stray animals lay down the legal framework for this. Municipal councils are required by Article 11a to produce an annual program to care for stray animals and to take prevention measures against stray populations.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Although there are laws in place regarding companion animals the country is reported to have a large population of stray and sheltered dogs, demonstrating the need for awareness-raising regarding responsible pet ownership.[1]

 

[1] http://www.esdaw.eu/society-and-animal-welfare---poland.html

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

It appears that current attitudes towards animals may present a barrier to progress. Additionally, there appear to be structural and resource issues acting as barriers, for example, local authorities are reported to struggle with the funding of shelters.[1]

 

[1] http://www.esdaw.eu/society-and-animal-welfare---poland.html

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Commission of a cruelty offence is punishable by a fine or imprisonment, and with confiscation, with the possibility of a ban on owning or working with animals and/or paying a fine to an animal protection organisation (Article 35 Animal Protection Act 1997). The same enforcement mechanisms exist for breach of the provisions relating to companion animals under Chapter 2 (Article 35).

C

Protecting animals used for draught and recreation

There is legislation

The general anti-cruelty provisions of Article 6 of the Animal Protection Act 1997 apply to this category of animals. Particularly relevant are the prohibitions on freeze or brand marking warm blooded animals; using ill, young or old animals for performance; beating; overworking; restraining in an unnatural position causing unnecessary pain; keeping animals in inadequate conditions; organising animal fights; and withholding food or water for a time beyond the minimum necessary.

Chapter 4 of the Animal Protection Act 1997 relates to animals used for entertainment purposes, including shows, sports and movies. Article 15 provides that training and performance methods must not endanger animals’ lives or health or cause suffering. Animals used for shows and entertainment must be born and bred in captivity and provided with conditions appropriate to their species, and cannot be forced to perform acts contrary to their nature (Article 17).

Article 16 prohibits the use of animals in cruel performances or sports, especially bull, dog and cock fighting. Travelling menageries are prohibited under Article 17(5).

The Minister responsible for the environment, in consultation with the Minister responsible for culture, is given the power to set detailed regulations giving minimum conditions of care for different species used in entertainment (Article 17(8)), which can be found in the Regulation of the Minister of Environment of 20 January 2004 on minimum conditions for the continuation of the individual species of animals used for entertainment, shows, film and sports.

In relation to draught animals, Article 14 of the Animal Protection Act 1997 provides that methods and conditions of using animals for work cannot create unjustified threat to their life or health, or inflict suffering on them. Specific examples are given including overloading, using equipment such as harnesses that result in injury or death because they are poorly made or in disrepair, and failing to provide species-appropriate rest periods.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The Animal Protection Act 1997 does establish some good protection to the welfare of animals used for recreational and draught purposes. However, although there is a ban on the use of wild-born animals in entertainment, legislation does not cover captive bred animals. Circuses in operation in Poland currently hold wild animals such as tigers[1], whereas a number of other countries around the world have prohibited the use of wild animals by circuses on animal welfare grounds. Animal protection organisations are campaigning for a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses in the country.[2]

 

[1] http://www.cyrk-europa.pl

[2] http://www.animalconference.eu/presentations/files/Poland_Situation.pdf

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There is no evidence that human or financial resource constraints represent a barrier to improving the welfare of animals used in draught or recreation in Poland. Additionally there are no social or cultural traditions in Poland creating barriers to furthering the levels of protection to animals used in draught or recreation in the country’s legislation. 

However the current legitimisation of the use of captive-bred wild animals in entertainment suggests that there may be barriers to improvement in this area.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Commission of a cruelty offence is punishable by a fine or imprisonment, and with confiscation, with the possibility of a ban on owning or working with animals and/or paying a fine to an animal protection organisation (Article 35 Animal Protection Act 1997). The same enforcement mechanisms exist for breach of the provisions relating to companion animals under Chapter 4 (Article 35).

B

Protecting animals used in scientific research

There is legislation

Animals used in experiments are covered by the Act on Experiments with Animals 2005. They are excluded from the Animal Protection Act 1997 (Article 2).

The Act on Experiments with Animals 2005 implements the requirements of European Union legislation and incorporates internationally recommended principles including International Council for Laboratory Animal Science guidelines.

The Act covers all vertebrates except in embryonic or fetal form, and applies to all forms of animal use for scientific research, tests and educational purposes which might cause pain, suffering, fear or permanent damage, including actions resulting in the birth of an animal suffering from any of those conditions, and including when anaesthetic is successfully used for pain and suffering. It also applies to killing animals for research, tests and educational purposes (Article 2).

The Act contains the principles of the Three Rs (replacement, refinement, reduction), including that those planning and carrying out experiments should aim to reduce the number of animals used (Article 6(1)) and that experiments with animals are permissible only when they are indispensable for scientific research, teaching methods in universities and medical academies, or for the protection of the health of humans or animals, and these objectives cannot be achieved in any other way because of the lack of suitable alternative methods (Article 28). Article 20(3) requires that the justification for experimental design must demonstrate, inter alia, the unavailability of alternative methods, in particular of methods that do not involve experiments on vertebrates.

Article 38 prohibits exposing experimental animals to unnecessary pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm to their body. The Act also prohibits carrying out experiments without adequate anaesthesia (Article 39), testing cosmetics or toiletries (Article 40), repeated use of an individual animal for experiments where the repetition is not necessary for the purpose (Article 41), using stray animals (Article 42), and carrying out experiments without correct permits (Articles 45 and 46).

Further detail is provided in a Regulation by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on housing conditions of such animals from 10 March 2006, which requires that the conditions as regards keeping animals on experimental animal farms and during the execution of experiments should provide for proper care and living conditions, including the minimum space necessary to enable the freedom of movement, proper feeding and watering, as well as humane treatment.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

In 1999 the National Ethics Commission for Animal Experiments was founded under previous legislation. A year later 16 local commissions started to operate. Experiments on animals may be performed by organisational units of universities and medical academies, research and development institutes, veterinary laboratories, drug manufacturers listed in a register administered by the Minister of Scientific Research and Information Technologies, and by adequately qualified personnel with individual permits from the manager of an organisational unit. In consultation with the local ethical commission, the manager of such a unit appoints a person to be responsible for taking care of animals and for carrying out an experiment, in compliance with the protocol approved by the ethical commission. The organisational unit is obliged to produce documentation on the experiments and on animals used.

Although the wording of the Act on Experiments with Animals 2005 follows European Union requirements and international standards, it has been suggested that the structure of the oversight and approval mechanisms, and the potential ability for an experimenter to persuade the ethics committee that just about any type of experiment is “necessary”, result in a lower level of protection in reality.[1]

 

[1] http://www.agriculturejournals.cz/publicFiles/120847.pdf

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

It appears that the structure of the existing legislation, including the operation of the oversight and approval mechanisms, may create a barrier to improvement in this area.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Breaches of the prohibitions in Articles 38 to 41 of the Act on Experiments with Animals 2005 are punishable with fines and imprisonment for up to a year. Breaches of Articles 42 to 46 are punishable with arrest and fines.

C

Protecting the welfare of wild animals

There is legislation

The general anti-cruelty provisions of Article 6 of the Animal Protection Act 1997 apply to all vertebrates in this category of animals including fish.

Article 6(1), which prohibits killing animals, makes exceptions for killing captive wild birds and mammals for meat and skins, for fishing in accordance with relevant laws, and for hunting and game animal population control.

Chapter 6 of the Act deals specifically with wild animals; Article 21 states that wild animals are a national good and should be provided with conditions for development and free existence, with exceptions listed in Article 33a(1) for population control.

Protection of wild animals is also dealt with in the separate Nature Protection Act 2004. Article 15 of this Act prohibits capture, killing and disturbing wild animals in national parks and nature reserves, and prohibits hunting except in designated areas or in conservation plans.

The Hunting Act 1995 permits the hunting of animals with the purpose of managing wild populations. Article 44a permits the use of traps. Article 5 of the Hunting Act 1995 requires the Minister responsible for the environment to establish detailed rules including a list of species which may be hunted, and the Regulation of the Minister of Environment of 12 October 2011 on fauna species protection establishes species of predators which may be caught in live traps, conditions, seasons and places of catching, and types of live traps and conditions to be met to ensure selective catching of predators.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

It is positive that wild animals are covered by the basic anti-cruelty legislation, however in practice the exemption for hunting may create the possibility of poor welfare for targeted wild animals.

The Polish Hunting Association is the basic authority established by the Hunting Act 1995 (Article 32) that supervises hunting management to implement the law, principles of ethics, hunting customs and traditions. There are clear stipulations on the weapons used as well as the ammunition and scope and Polish organisers are obliged to report any violations to the police. Although the legislation does have conservation and population management considerations as stated aims, it allows hunting to take place of a large number of species of animals and with different hunting methods including traps. Culling and hunting licenses are given with provisos that the species will not be affected, rather than by reference to consideration for the individual animal’s welfare. The legislation states that the appropriate traps for specific species should be used but this does not mean that other animals will not be caught in them and suffer injury.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The primary focus of legislation appears to be related to management of species either for conservation for hunting. Wild animals are valued as game:  hunting in Poland is advertised to attract international hunters to the country.[1] The failure to recognise fully animal welfare issues relating to wild animals appears to be a significant barrier to progress.

 

[1] http://www.poland.travel/en/fishing-hunting/

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Commission of a cruelty offence is punishable by a fine or imprisonment, and with confiscation, with the possibility of a ban on owning or working with animals and/or paying a fine to an animal protection organisation (Article 35 Animal Protection Act 1997). The Polish Hunting Association has disciplinary powers under Chapter 6a of the Hunting Act 1995 for breaches of the Act and of the Association’s rules, including fines and suspension of membership. There do not appear to be any criminal offences created by the Hunting Act 1995.

Governance structures and systems

Governance structures and systems

This theme examines government commitment to improving animal protection. This includes whether there is allocation of responsibility, accountability and resources within government.

B

Government accountability for animal welfare

There is legislation

Each relevant piece of primary legislation identifies specific government bodies for the production of more detailed regulations.

Most of the issues regarding farm animals and their welfare come under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Although there are responsibilities within the government regarding aspects of animal protection, the government has not put into place an overall supervisory body or strategy for improving animal welfare.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The existing legislation identifies specific government bodies responsible for implementation and mechanisms for the production of secondary legislation. The structure could benefit from the establishment of an overall body responsible for animal welfare in all areas, but it is clear that the government is prepared to allocate resources to improving animal welfare.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

The responsibilities of relevant government bodies are set out in legislation. In places these extend only to powers to make secondary regulations on specified issues but in many instances there is an obligation to do so (generally where required in order to comply with European Union legislative requirements; for example under Article 12(7) of the Animal Protection Act 1997).

Animal welfare standards

Animal welfare standards

This theme examines whether the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)’s animal welfare standards have been incorporated into law or policy, the extent of engagement with the OIE on animal welfare issues, and whether the government publishes reports on progress in improving animal welfare.

D

Engagement with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)

There is policy

There is an OIE laboratory in Poland, but no OIE collaborating centres or offices. Poland is a member of the OIE’s Regional Commission for Europe.

The government has previously reported to the OIE on a simulation exercise on the control of disease outbreak in livestock.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

In reporting simulation exercises to the OIE the Polish government should receive some feedback on welfare issues, which may help to improve animal welfare in the country.

However, without more extensive policy or legislation, Poland’s engagement with the OIE cannot be considered to be fully effective to make animal welfare a mainstream concern in the country.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The low level of engagement to date suggests that there are still barriers to improving animal welfare in Poland through OIE related activities. However there is no evidence of human or financial resource constraints to further engagement with the OIE, and the country’s membership of the OIE’s Regional Commission for Europe may present an opportunity to make progress with respect to transposition and implementation of animal welfare standards. 

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are no enforcement mechanisms relevant to this indicator.

D

OIE animal welfare standards

There is legislation with partial application

The existing legislation does contain the basic mandates of the OIE standards, including those on farmed animals, transport and slaughter and the use of animals in scientific research. However there is no development of initiatives to cover standards found in the Aquatic Animal Health Code, stray population control, or killing of animals for disease control purposes.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The legislation in place is effective across most categories of animals.  Consistency with international animal welfare standards and explicit incorporation of all of the OIE’s guiding principles and standards would help with implementation in the country.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There is no evidence of resource constraints, either human or financial, to improve animal welfare in the country through incorporating the OIE’s guiding principles and standards into legislation. However, in the recent past the Polish government has shown some lack of commitment to implementing and enforcing European Union Directives and Regulations related to some of the OIE’s animal welfare standards. This lack of commitment suggests that there is a barrier to improvement in this area. 

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

The OIE standards that are covered in existing legislation have enforcement mechanisms including fines and imprisonment.

D

Reporting on progress

There is policy

The government has produced an Integrated Multiannual Plan of Controls for Poland for 2010 to 2014. Although this focuses on food safety, it does contain some animal welfare considerations. The Chief Veterinary Officer’s Instruction regarding the controls of the farm animals carried out by the county veterinary inspectors also sets some guidance and requires annual reporting on the control visits.

Each year the Veterinary Inspectorate prepares a report to the Ministry of Agriculture on its activity regarding, inter alia, issues of animal protection and welfare. The Polish Supreme Control Chamber publishes about 200 reports annually, including on animal welfare related issues. This body reports to the lower house of Parliament but is independent of the executive. Its reports identify areas for improvement of legislation and policy.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Although it is encouraging that reports from an independent institution are produced and readily available with clear recommendations, they do not cover all animal welfare related issues or all categories and species of animals.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The existence of reporting mechanisms suggests that there are relatively low barriers to improvement in this area, however there is an apparent lack of evidence to show where issues identified by the reports have been subsequently rectified. 

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are no enforcement mechanisms relevant to this indicator.

Providing humane education

Providing humane education

This theme examines whether issues of animal care and protection are included in the national education system at primary and secondary level, and comments on whether animal welfare issues such as humane handling form part of veterinary medicine education.

C

Education on animal care and protection

There is legislation with partial application

Article 8(1) of the Animal Protection Act 1997 provides that the Minister of Education will take animal protection issues into account in the core curriculum of general education. However there is no evidence that this has resulted in the incorporation of humane education in the curriculum itself.

Provincial agricultural advisory centres are required to execute a program promoting awareness of the Animal Protection Act 1997 among farmers.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Inclusion of animal protection issues in the core general education curriculum of the country is a good way to increase animal welfare concerns throughout society. The government is invited to clarify the extent to which the curriculum includes animal protection issues. A number of higher education institutions have included animal welfare in their curriculum.[1]

 

[1] http://www.worldvet.org/docs/universities_and_academic_institutes_caw.pdf

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There do not appear to be significant human or financial resource barriers to improvement in this area.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

The requirement for animal protection issues to be incorporated into the curriculum of all schools is set out in primary legislation.

Promoting communication and awareness

Promoting communication and awareness

This theme examines whether there is government consultation and engagement with relevant stakeholders on animal protection issues, such as the development of new legislation and policy and the licensing of scientific research using animals.

B

Consultation with stakeholders

There is legislation

Article 1(3) of the Animal Protection Act 1997 states that public authorities will take action to protect animals, and will cooperate with appropriate domestic and international organisations. However, no further detail is given of the form that this cooperation should take, other than provision for confiscated animals involved in cruelty offences to be handed to animal shelters.

Articles 39 and 40 specifically provide for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty in Poland and other animal protection public organisations to act as ancillary prosecutor alongside state and local authorities in disclosure and prosecution of cruelty offences.

With regard to animals used in experiments, the National Ethical Committee appoints local ethical committees which include representatives of biological, medical, veterinary and arts sciences and representatives of non-governmental organisations that have animal protection as their statutory objective.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

It is positive that the input of NGOs is explicitly mentioned in the legislation. This should allow for the development of cooperation between government and relevant stakeholders.

Although the government interacts with other stakeholders for the ethical consideration of animal experiments, there are no regulations that make government interaction with other stakeholders such as animal welfare organisations and/or coalitions mandatory when writing or reviewing animal welfare legislation and policy. This would be of benefit as representatives from these organisations could bring a valuable perspective to the drafting process.  

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The inclusion of a requirement for the government to cooperate with relevant organisations in primary legislation indicates that there are no significant barriers with respect to working with others. However, the lack of engagement and motivation demonstrated by the government with respect to implementation of European Union legislation and interactions with the OIE indicate that there are barriers to the government investing resources in animal welfare as an independent issue.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

The requirement to cooperate with relevant organisations is set in primary legislation. 

Countries Selected
Select up to four countries and then select 'Compare' to start contrasting animal welfare standards

Private consumption is expected to support growth in 2014, especially with lower inflation contributing to an increase in real wages. The BMI predicts that Poland will undergo a recovery driven by exports. Unemployment is also stabilising at approximately 10%. The current account deficit also dropped in 2013 from 3.7% to 2.1% of GDP. In the long term, labour productivity is also expected to be positive, increasing at 3.2% per year over the next twenty years. Real GDP growth for the period 2012-30, the EIU predicts, will be 3.1%.

 

 

Date of information: 11/02/2014
Population 
38,542,737
GDP 
$489,795,486,644 (2012)
GDP (PPP) 
$22,162 (2012)
Education expenditure (% of GDP) 
5.2 (2010)