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News Section Icon Published 27/05/2024

At the last ‘Agrifish’ Council before the European Parliament elections in June, Ministers from Slovenia, Bulgaria, France, Portugal and Sweden called on the Commission to continue to “prioritise animal welfare at the core of its next agenda.” In a note to fellow Council Ministers, the group of countries stressed that the work already done on animal welfare should continue within the scope of the new Commission.

An overwhelming 84% of European citizens believe that farmed animals should have better protection than they currently have, and it is positive to see that some EU governments are listening to the views of their citizens.

Call for progress on animal welfare rules revision

Mostly referring to the long overdue revision of animal welfare rules in the EU, various member states took to the floor during the public debate arguing that the EU must remain a frontrunner when it comes to the welfare of farmed animals as well as the protection of animals at the time of killing.

Unlike the European Commission, these countries recognised and included in their communication that “this is what the EU citizens would expect and society will appreciate”.

Several countries encouraged the Commission to put forward the remaining proposals on the keeping and slaughtering of animals as well as the animal welfare food labelling. These were both originally part of the EU animal welfare legislation reform promised by the von der Leyen Commission.

They also encouraged work on the European Citizens' Initiatives “End the Cage Age” and “Fur Free Europe” to remain in the programme of the new EU’s executive and called for a “proper assessment of the economic and social impacts of any proposed legislation in this area.”

The Commission must deliver on its promises

Owen Gibbons, Regional Director of Campaigns and Advocacy, said: “There can be no justification for the Commission’s failure to present the long-awaited revision of animal welfare legislation, and a proposal to end caged farming in particular. When we know that all the necessary impact assessments and stakeholder consultations have already been carried out, and passed with flying colours, further dithering and delay only represents continued suffering for millions of farmed animals and uncertainty for millions of European farmers.

“We welcome the clear stance of these five countries and their determination to continue to improve the lives of millions of farmed animals across Europe. They are clearly listening to the clear views of EU citizens who overwhelmingly support legislation to improve farm animal welfare,” said Gibbons.

The Commission’s failure to deliver proposals for legislation to ban cages by the end of 2023 after making a firm commitment to do so has let down the 1.4 million people who signed the End the Cage Age ECI as well as the over 300 million farmed animals that suffer in cages across Europe every year.

That’s why the End the Cage Citizens’ Committee has launched legal action against the Commission to ensure it delivers on its promises.


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