Call to citizens worldwide to share their views and help improve the European Animal Welfare Strategy

9 June 2020

The European Commission has launched a worldwide public consultation in order to evaluate its Animal Welfare Strategy. EU- as well as non-EU citizens are invited to share their views on animal welfare through a short online questionnaire before the 15th of June. Party for the Animals calls upon all people concerned with animal welfare, food safety, the prevention of zoonotic diseases like corona, the climate and biodiversity, to express their views by filling out the Commissions form, which is available in all of the EU’s languages. “Grab this chance to make a real contribution to animal welfare in Europe. This evaluation will inform any future EU initiatives on animal welfare, so make yourself heard!”

MEP Anja Hazekamp (middle) in the European Parliament.

The current EU strategy for the protection and welfare of animals was adopted in 2012 and defined a number of priorities and actions aimed at improving animal welfare. According to Party for the Animals, however, the existing rules on animal welfare are far too weak and not properly implemented - nor is their observance in member states sufficiently guaranteed. “For years, the European Commission has done hardly anything to make sure existing rules on animal welfare are implemented in member states, and it has ignored calls to improve existing or to introduce new, better animal welfare legislation,” says Party for the Animals MEP Anja Hazekamp.

Weak rules, inconsistently implemented
Despite animals being recognised as sentient beings under EU law, they are often far from treated as such, MEP Hazekamp points out. “Member states continue to explore the limits of existing EU regulations and use its derogations to the extent that the exception has become the rule, leading to high stock density in chicken farms, long and constantly extended transport times within and outside the EU and routine tail docking of pigs, to mention a few things.” Meanwhile, the Commission has been reluctant to start infringement procedures against member states that refuse to apply existing animal welfare legislation.

Despite an ever stronger call from citizens and the European Parliament, the Commission has failed to guarantee the welfare of animals during transport and slaughter or in intensive fish farms, the rabbit industry and other forms of intensive livestock farming. It has also failed to pursue a coherent policy, the party comments: “Granting trade advantages to products that are produced with lower standards, is not coherent with ‘Promoting EU animal welfare standards globally’, one of the EU Animal Welfare Strategy’s so-called goals. The Commission has ignored calls from the European Parliament to demand binding measures for a minimum level of animal welfare in its negotiations for Free Trade and Association Agreements, such as those with South America, Ukraine and Japan. But short-term economic and geo-political interests have been giving priority over animal welfare.”

Giant Pig Action against Factory Farming at EU Parliament in Brussels. © Tim Dirven / Greenpeace

A global call for change
Besides for the enforcement of existing regulations and a new, much stronger strategy, the Party for the Animals urges for the inclusion of animal welfare demands in Free Trade Agreements -and- in the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). “Agricultural subsidies should contribute to a strong push towards a plant-based food system - that’s crucial for humans, animals and our planet.” That’s why Party for the Animals and fourteen sister parties have launched a worldwide call for a food revolution upon governments worldwide.

“Now is the time to change. More and more people are concerned about animal welfare and the corona crisis has once again shown that the way we treat animals is unacceptable, both from an ethical and a public health point of view. The present evaluation of the Animal Welfare Strategy is a good opportunity to let the Commission know that there’s a whole lot of people out there calling for change. So fill out this form before the 15th of June and make yourselves heard in the heart of Europe!”

What we stand for

Animal rights