For the very first time, the European Court of Auditors looked into how EU animal welfare standards are adhered to, and concluded in a new report released on 14 November 2018 that the rules are repeatedly ignored on the ground. Audits in Germany, France, Italy, Poland and Romania revealed non-compliance with rules on pig tail docking, long-distance transport and slaughterhouse stunning.
“Europe is falling behind,” said Olga Kikou, Head of Compassion in World Farming EU. “The latest example is the ban of cages for egg-laying hens in California – a cruel system still allowed in Europe.”
“I agree with the conclusion of the European Court of Auditors, where they point that economic actors repeatedly trump animal welfare rules,” continued Olga. “Thanks to the efforts of the previous President of the European Parliament’s Animal Welfare Intergroup, Mr. Janusz Wojciechowski, we have yet another European institution to confirm that the day-to-day reality for animals is far away from what’s in the books.”
Olga continued: “EU citizens are increasingly aware of cruel animal farming practices and Europe needs to move beyond the current, very basic welfare standards we have. For example, specific legislation is lacking for species like dairy cows and rabbits. Not only is the current legislation weak but it is also frequently not enforced. This is a shame! We cannot allow this to happen, as it leads to suffering for hundreds of millions of farm animals across Europe. By flouting EU animal welfare rules, economic actors betray the trust of EU citizens. It is a pity that EU countries don’t do more to ensure that these very economic actors follow the rules.”