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updated 2/11/01
Pet night a success

Local Conservative MEP Roger Helmer joined with MEPs from all over Europe to attend the European Parliaments first "Pet Night," a night held with the aim of highlighting the key role that animals play in society.

Six not-for-profit animal-related organisations held a four-day educational exhibition, which culminated in Pet night, where animals such as dogs for the blind, deaf and disabled took centre stage. His Royal Highness Prince Laurent of Belgium also attended the reception. He is the founder and president of the Prince Laurent Foundation for Animal Welfare.

Roger Helmer MEP is pictured with Swan, a dog that is being trained to assist a disabled person.

Roger Helmer MEP, who owns a retired greyhound and a horse said:

"In the EU alone, more than 12,000 guide dogs are helping blind and partially sighted people lead independent lives, and almost 1,000 hearing dogs have been placed with deaf or hearing-impaired people.

"Dogs can also be trained to help people with physical disabilities. They can be trained to help with a variety of everyday tasks, allowing physically disabled people lead more independent lives.

"These animals are providing a vital service for many people".

The night was considered such a success that there are already plans for Pet Night 2002.