Revolution in the fur industry in Poland and in the Polish animal protection laws

“Five for animals “, as the Polish press refers to the newly amended animal protection laws, is still awaiting for the final voting. The poultry industry is demanding amendments and opposing the introduction of a ban on fur farming and a ban on ritual slaughter in Poland. Traders fear the loss of their source of income, already threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic. They explain that the new solutions will result in a loss of financial liquidity and difficulties in paying off loans taken out to build and modernise farms. The sector organisations explain that the Polish poultry industry, which is the main exporter of poultry in the EU, may collapse overnight.

The purpose of the amendment

The aim of the proposed regulation in Poland is to strengthen the legal protection of animals and improve their welfare. The proposed law provides for the introduction of restrictions related to employment and authorisation to operate shelters. It is also intended to restrict entities which may operate shelters for homeless animals only to organisational units of the commune and social organisations whose statutory objective is to protect animals which are non-profit organisations and have the status of public benefit organisations.

The amendment proposes to increase the frequency of inspections of shelter operators carried out by the Veterinary Inspection and to clarify the powers of this body. All supervisory activities over the shelter operators will be reviewed by social organisations whose statutory objective is to protect animals. Impeding the activities of organisations will be penalised.

The “Five for animals” is to introduce a number of prohibitions:

  • keeping pets permanently tethered and using prong collars (guidelines on the length of tethering);
  • circus performances involving animals for entertainment purposes (circuses have also been removed from the list of those allowed to bring animals from abroad),
  • the breeding of fur animals (except rabbits), bred to obtain their fur;
  • slaughter without stunning the animals, with the exception of slaughter for members of Polish municipalities and religious associations in order to eliminate commercial exports of meat from animals killed in this way.

Additional powers of the authorities

The amendments also concern participation in court proceedings – the amendment wants to grant social organisations and the Chief Veterinary Inspector the power to initiate proceedings or to take part as a party or wronged party in ongoing criminal, civil, administrative or judicial proceedings if there is a need to protect animals. There are also plans to extend the catalogue of cases from the Act on animal protection in which Veterinary Inspection employees will be able to impose fines by way of a criminal mandate.

Animal Welfare Council

If the law enters into force, the Animal Welfare Council will be set up under the authority of the minister responsible for public administration to publish an annual animal welfare report.

The planned composition of the body:

  • representatives of animal protection associations,
  • animal shelters,
  • associations acting in the interests of animals,
  • scientific institutions,
  • veterinarians,
  • breeders.

The Act on the protection of animal rights will enter into force 30 days after its announcement. The legislation on the ban on keeping pets permanently tethered will come into force after six months, and the legislation on the ban on keeping animals for fur will come into force after 12 months. The legislative work on the new law is not yet complete, but it is already clear that the following provisions will also require adjustment:

  • Act of 21 August 1997 on the protection of animal rights,
  • Law of 13 September 1996 on maintaining cleanliness and order in municipalities,
  • the Code of civil procedure,
  • the Code of criminal procedure,
  • the Code of conduct on misconduct cases.

We follow the legislative process on the abovementioned act on an ongoing basis.