First animal welfare agreement reached in Denmark: ‘Together for the Animals’

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A new chapter has begun in the effort to enhance the lives of Danish animals now that a broad majority of political parties recently voted in favour of 31 initiatives in Denmark’s first animal welfare agreement. “Together for the Animals” aims to ensure better animal welfare for both farm animals and companion animals.

A significant portion of the 31 initiatives centres on the welfare of pigs, as a previous agreement in 2014 failed to yield the intended outcomes. Initiatives include the phasing out of farrowing crates, improvement of piglet and sow survival, mandatory animal welfare training for employees, leaving more pig tails intact and using anaesthesia for piglet castration.

There are also several initiatives about chickens, for example a ban on fast-growing chickens, coupled with a public marketing campaign addressing this issue, along with a commitment to advocate for the ban at EU level. Additionally, an investigation into alternatives to the culling of male chicks is set to take place.

Other initiatives include bans on breeding dogs for aesthetic purposes and the use of certain types of dog collars, and the establishment of a citizen’s assembly on animal welfare.

Citizen’s assembly

The idea of the citizen's assembly originated with the Danish party Alternativet (The Alternative), which merged with our former sister party Veganerpartiet (the Vegan Party), and became more animal focused as a consequence.

Valentina Crast, former Veganerpartiet member and current candidate for Alternativet for the European Parliament elections, elaborates on this initiative: “There is already a citizen’s assembly for climate issues in place in Denmark and it is very obvious that citizens are much more ambitious, brave and willing [than politicians] to allocate funds and find solutions that aren't easy but necessary. We, The Alternative, expect the same when it comes to animal issues. When people are made aware of the systematic industrial abuse of animals, they are appalled. This will put extra pressure on lawmakers to do better. All too often, these lawmakers are too entangled with the industry responsible for this suffering. The establishment of this citizen’s assembly is a democratic victory with significant potential to be a force for good for the animals.”

A step in the right direction

In January, the government presented a draft agreement, which, according to Helene Liliendahl Brydenholt, the animal rights spokesperson for Alternativet, was “very unambitious. Eventually, some initiatives became more ambitious, and luckily new vital initiatives were added to the agreement.”

According to Alternativet, the agreement is an important step in the right direction, but doesn’t really go far enough. “If Alternativet alone had a parliamentary majority, the animal welfare agreement would look completely different. The current one contains many quick fixes instead of actual solutions”, says Helene Liliendahl Brydenholt. Valentina Crast adds: “We will continue to advocate for higher standards for animals trapped in the industry and ensure that Denmark transitions away from animal agriculture towards a plant-based industry focused on producing food for humans.”

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