The EU must update its outdated animal welfare laws, the European Commission concluded in its extensive legislative review published on 4 October 2022.
We welcome this evaluation, in particular the specific recognition that the EU must end the use of cages for farmed animals, reduce fish pain during slaughter and strengthen the rules on animal transport.
A lot of work ahead
“The results from the evaluation of the animal welfare laws show, once again, that the EU has a lot of work to do before its animal welfare standards are up to date with the latest science and citizen’s expectations,” said Olga Kikou, Head of Compassion in World Farming EU.
“We are thrilled to see that the shift to cage-free farming is once again high on the political agenda, as well as the recognition that the EU needs to protect fish and strengthen the current rules on animal transport,” Olga added. “We particularly welcome the acknowledgement that we can’t have sustainable food systems without changing what we eat.”
“We truly hope that the findings from this review will be translated into ambitious proposals to overhaul the outdated EU animal welfare rules, despite the continuous attempts by Big Agri-business lobbyists to keep the status quo alive, as long as possible,” Olga warned. “It is imperative that EU legislators do not give in to this pressure.”
Confirming what we know
This new evaluation of the EU animal welfare rules is based on desk research, consultations with various stakeholders and an external cost-benefit analysis. It noted that much would need to be done in order to improve EU animal welfare standards.
In particular, the European Commission noted that the current legislation still allows the use of cages and other confining systems “that restrict significantly their movements and hamper [animal] welfare.” It highlighted that current killing methods are “frightening and painful to the fish” and noted that 94% of out of the nearly 60 000 respondents to their survey “considered that the export of live animals to non-EU countries for slaughter should be prohibited.”
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