On 6 December 2022, we screened a documentary on animal farming in the European Parliament in Brussels, during which EU policymakers, the documentary directors and activists questioned our perception of animal farming and discussed what the EU can do to mitigate the animal welfare, environmental and human health costs of factory farming.
The event, which presented the first episode of the ARTE documentary series ‘Who We Eat,’ was hosted by MEPs Tilly Metz (Luxembourg, Greens/EFA) and Pascal Durand (France, Socialists & Democrats). It included a panel discussion with the documentary directors, Jannis Funk and Jakob Schmidt, Ottavia Pieretto from the food movement Slow Food and our own Olga Kikou, the head of our EU office.
Watch the documentary
You can watch the documentary series here, available in English, German, French, Spanish, Polish and Italian.
‘Who we Eat’ and at what cost?
Close to 9 billion land animals and about a billion farmed fish are slaughtered in the EU each year. Hundreds of millions of them are restricted in cages, where they cannot express even the most basic behaviours like turning around or stretching their limbs. They are subject to horrendous practices such as painful mutilations without any medication, long and hellish journeys to the slaughterhouse or unsuitable stunning practices before they are killed. This has not only severe ethical implications but also negative repercussions on our planet and public health.
What can EU policymakers do?
Several MEPs showed political will to overhaul our food systems. The current EU revision of the animal welfare legislation provides EU policymakers the opportunity to end factory farming – including by phasing out the use of cages and introducing new rules on stunning, slaughter and transport. In addition, the EU’s environmental and health commitments are a good steppingstone for legislative and policy reforms that can enable the transition to plant-rich diets.
MEP Metz closed the event, highlighting the coincidence that it took place on Saint Nicolas Day. She urged the public to share the truth about factory farming - one day we must tell children that Saint Nicolas doesn't exist, so one day people should find out the truth about what ends up on our plate.
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