European Commission releases Q&A on animals and COVID-19


European Commission releases Q&A on animals and COVID-19

25 May 2020
Eurogroup for Animals
Today the European Commission has followed in the footsteps of several international organisations in clarifying basic facts for European citizens on pets in the time of COVID-19.

Following the COVID-19 outbreak and the discovery of a few cases of infected cats and dogs, the media has spread fake news regarding companion animals being able to transmit COVID-19 to humans. These have been put straight by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the World Health Organisation (WHO) as well as the International Companion Animal Management Coalition (ICAM), who all confirmed that COVID-19 is the result of a human-to-human transmission, and that there is to date no evidence that cats and dogs constitute a risk to human health.

However, misinformation has already had tragic consequences on pets that have since been treated with chemical products or forced to wear masks, or that have been abandoned or mistreated out of fear of catching COVID-19. It also put even more strain on stray animals in some of the European countries, where the current situation is being exploited to intensify inhumane mass culling through poison or shooting. 

“Only by proactively setting the facts straight can governments and policy makers get ahead of the curve of animal mistreatment. We are glad to see the European Commission bringing the facts closer to European citizens and national authorities in order to prevent more suffering from occurring,” says Reineke Hameleers, CEO of Eurogroup for Animals. “Our companion animals have always been a benefit to our well-being and health, and they should be protected from negative impact of misinformation.” 

The document released today by the European Commission touches upon practical approaches to cats and dogs in the current pandemic, as well as actions needed on a cross-border level in order to ensure efficient cooperation between veterinary authorities in times of pandemics. Regrettably, the document doesn’t acknowledge the need for preventive measures and regulation of the trade on wild animals in order to avoid future pandemics. 

For detailed advice on how to care for your pets in times of COVID-19, please check the websites of our Member Organisations.