Political parties for animal rights are leading the most important animal welfare union in the European Parliament
Last week, Anja Hazekamp, Member of the European Parliament for the Dutch Party for the Animals, was appointed as the new President of the cross-party European alliance for animals, the Intergroup on Welfare and Conservation of Animals. Additionally, Martin Buschmann and Francisco Guerreiro, the two MEPs of the Portuguese and German sister parties of the Party for the Animals, were appointed as vice presidents. Together they take a strong stand for the rights and welfare of animals inside and outside the European Union (EU).
The intergroup is an official body within the European Parliament and consists of MEPs from all EU political groups and EU countries. They meet every month to discuss current issues in the field of animal welfare and to prepare solutions and political actions. Furthermore, various experts, animal protection organisations and practitioners are invited to these meetings.
"Although animals have the right to be protected under European treaties, they are often treated as objects without consciousness or feelings. No specific protection regulations apply for 340 million rabbits, 170 million ducks, 150 million turkeys, 83 million sheep, 10 million goats and 88 million cows in European agriculture. As President of the Intergroup, I will do everything possible to change this," said Hazekamp.
Save for animals in agriculture, Hazekamp also wants to bring majorities together within the Intergroup for animal welfare to better protect domestic animals, test animals, circus animals and wildlife animals. Also excesses committed in Europe, such as force-feeding geese and bullfighting, must be dealt with. “It's unbelievable that Europe still allows such cruelties,” according to Hazekamp.
But the MEP also looks beyond the EU borders. "Trade with countries outside Europe should not be at the expense of animals. If we import products from outside Europe, we should make sure that these are at least produced in accordance with European standards. This means that Europe must stop the import of South American beef and horse meat, Ukrainian intensively farmed chickens and factory farm eggs."
"With combined efforts we will fight for all animals. No animal is beneath us because every little animal helps," according to Anja Hazekamp.