Party for the Animals submits 150 proposals for a sustainable, healthy and animal friendly food system in the EU
Anja Hazekamp, MEP for the Party for the Animals, has submitted 150 additional proposals to the European From Farm to Fork strategy meant to make the European food system more sustainable. These proposals concern improvements regarding the environment, the climate, and animal welfare. Concrete plans to prevent deforestation for cattle feed, toxic pesticide remains, unfair competition for farmers, and malpractices during animal transports and in slaughterhouses are also included. The Party for the Animals wants consumers to have honest information on product packaging as well. “We need to switch to a sustainable food system. But we cannot just hold consumers responsible. We need to create a food environment in which the sustainable and healthy options are affordable and easy.”
At the end of January, rapporteur for the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Anja Hazekamp presented a follow-up plan for the From Farm To Fork strategy of the European Commission, in collaboration with the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development. Though this strategy was received as the “cornerstone of the European Green Deal”, the Party for the Animals merely considers it “a first step”, as the plans fail to go as far as needed. While lobby groups of the agro-industry try to downplay the disastrous consequences of our current food system on the climate, environment, biodiversity, and public health, the Party for the Animals calls on the European Commission to explicitly recognise these effects and take the necessary action.
With 150 amendments, the party wants to raise the ambitions of the European agricultural strategy. “Healthy food, a healthy society and a healthy planet cannot be seen as separate targets. The way in which we produce our food in Europe has a serious impact on our climate, the environment, biodiversity and the health and wellbeing of both humans and animals around the world”, states Anja Hazekamp. “That is why we are making concrete recommendations to drastically reduce the environmental and climate impact of our food system. We want to make food, and its production process, healthier.”
Animal friendly and plant-based
The connecting thread in all proposals is the protein transition: switching from a diet rich in animal protein to a largely plant-based diet. Sharply reducing the number of animals kept in the livestock industry is the best way to fight the destruction of nature and to hit climate targets, as shown by experts from the University of Oxford and the United Nations amongst others. To prevent further deforestation in the Amazon, for example, Anja Hazekamp wants to reduce the land area used to grow fodder. She also wants to introduce binding requirements for reducing the emission of greenhouse gases by the livestock industry.
Proposals to improve the welfare of animals, amongst others by completely banning fast-growing chickens and pig tail docking, also include measures to improve the wellbeing of fish, crabs and lobster. Hazekamp also wants the EU to follow the recommendations made by the European Citizens Initiative End the Cage Age, signed by over 1,4 million people, which pleads for a complete ban on cages in the livestock industry. She also calls on the European Commission to speed up its work on improving legislation on slaughterhouses and animal transport. These improvements were announced after the Party for the Animals, amongst others, pushed for them, but action has been lacking since.
Besides this, Hazekamp does not want the use of pesticides in agriculture to be reduced by just 50%, the current EU target, but by 70%. Dangerous pesticides should be banned completely. “Half of all vegetables and fruits in Europe still contain dangerous remains of agricultural toxins. A quarter contains a cocktail of various kinds of pesticides”, states Hazekamp. In 2030, all fruits and vegetables available should be free from any toxic residue.
Tougher requirements for imported produce
To truly make the European food system more sustainable and a success for European farmers, Hazekamp proposes tougher requirements for products imported from outside the European Union. The Party for the Animals holds the view that the EU should not allow any products from outside that do not meet the same standards on animal welfare, the environment and the climate.
Hazekamp wants the EU to review new and existing trade agreements. She also proposes to stop the import of Argentinian horse meat due to the rampant illegal practices, maltreatment of horses and the food safety risks of the industry. An import ban on meat from cloned animals and their offspring, something the European Parliament has already pushed for in the past, can be found amongst Hazekamp’s 150 proposals as well.
As a rapporteur on the From Farm to Fork strategy, Hazekamp already proposed a ban on misleading health claims on unhealthy products. Hazekamp also wants to include clear and easily interpretable information on all food products. This way, people can easily see how healthy a product is and how much fat, sugar, carbs and salt it contains while shopping. The labels of vegetarian and plant-based products should be clearer as well, according to Hazekamp.
A large share of the proposals have already been co-signed by MEP’s of other groups. These coming months, the Party for the Animals will try their utmost to get as many MEP’s as possible behind its proposals in the European Parliament.