Serbia has signalled its intent to improve animal welfarefollowing a meeting between the country’s president and the RSPCA,ahead of the introduction of new animal welfare legislation next month.

Alexandra Hammond-Seaman, RSPCA International’s senior programme manager for Europe, met President Tadic after Serbia joined a long line of countries worldwide signing a petition calling for a Universal Declaration of Animal Welfare.

RSPCA meets with Serbian president Mrs Hammond-Seaman said: “It was a great honour to meet President Tadic and discuss such a vitally important issue. The Minister for Agriculture, Saša Dragin signed the petition and confirmed that Serbia will be adopting its first animal welfare framework law in May.”

Serbia is a potential country to join the European Union, and this move will allow the country to harmonise with current EU legislation on animal welfare.

The animal welfare framework law covers all species, and includes research animals, the protection of farm animals, transport and slaughter and the protection of wildlife in captivity, as well as forbidding wild animals in circuses.

After the adoption of this law Serbia will adopt the full EU legal framework on animal welfare into national legislation, as one of the prerequisites in the process towards the EU integration.

Mrs Hammond-Seaman added: “RSPCA International has been actively engaged with Serbia for over five years now, by providing assistance and training with issues such as dog population control and stray dog management. We also work very closely with Serbian government agencies and the veterinary profession on improving farm animal welfare in the Country. We look forward to continuing to play a central role in helping to enforce the law.”

RSPCA International attended the meeting with another non-governmental organisation, the Organisation for Respect and Care for Animals (ORCA) which has in the past worked in Serbia to promote responsible pet ownership.

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