Citizens and companies demand radically better animal protection by the EU

6 April 2022

Weeks of animal transport, unanesthetized castration of piglets, the shredding of day-old chicks and lifelong confinement of billions of animals in cages – if it were up to tens of thousands of citizens, companies and organisations, the European Commission would put an end to these and other cruel practices as soon as possible. The overwhelming response to a questionnaire on animal welfare, presented by the Commission last winter is proof of this. The results that were published last week show that many want a radical improvement of European legislation and better protection of other animal species.

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MEP Anja Hazekamp, vice-chairman of the Committee of Inquiry into the protection of animals during transport, talks about the abuses in animal transportion that she witnessed in, among other places, the port of Midia (Romania).

For years, the Dutch Party for the Animals, together with its sister parties worldwide, has been fighting to put an end to animal suffering in Europe and beyond. MEP Anja Hazekamp is tirelessly pushing for a ban on the long-distance transport of live animals, a ban on the use of cages and an end to animal testing. Which is paying off, as the tide is turning, and animal welfare is more prominent on the European agenda than ever.

In the coming years, European legislation for animals will finally be adjusted. In order to gauge the opinion of citizens, farmers, businesses, governments and NGOs, the European Commission put together a questionnaire on the existing European regulations with regards to animal welfare, asking people to make suggestions for improvement. Which was a milestone in itself. The Party for the Animals and animal protection organisations therefore called on everyone to participate in this European public consultation. And successfully so: almost 60,000 people completed the questionnaire – the highest response ever in these kinds of official consultations – and the results are telling.

Call for structural change

Photo: Joanne McArthur / We Animals.

The commission's report last week shows that the majority of respondents want the legislation to be thoroughly reviewed. To name a few examples: more species must be included, there needs to be regulations for the killing of farmed fish and an end to the use of cages, the stunning of animals (mainly chickens) by means of electrically charged baths, and the transport of unweaned calves. A time limit for the transport of animals within the EU and a total ban on the export of live animals to countries outside the EU are also widely supported.

The outcome of the consultation will help determine the legislative proposals that the Commission is expected to adopt by the end of next year. "It's fantastic that almost all people in Europe want animals to be better protected. There is overwhelming support for a ban on the long and miserable animal transports to countries outside the EU, as well as on the transport of young calves. When you see that 95% of all citizens support these measures, it is actually bizarre that people in Brussels still have doubts about this."

What we stand for

Animal rights