Vast majority of European citizens want better animal welfare

1 November 2023

A new Eurobarometer survey conducted by the European Commission in all 27 EU member states recently revealed that 84% of citizens in Europe are concerned about animal suffering in the livestock industry, and want animals in their countries to be given better protection. “This survey confirms once again that the vast majority of citizens consider the abuses suffered by animals in the livestock industry unacceptable. The European Commission must act urgently to improve animal welfare regulations,” says MEP Anja Hazekamp of the Dutch Party for the Animals.

The Eurobarometer shows, among other things, that citizens want the maximum transport time for animal to be shortened. People are also concerned about the situation in slaughterhouses and the way animals are kept; 90% of all respondents believe that animals should have sufficient freedom of movement and access to food and water, that the way in which animals are kept should meet the specific needs of their species, and that all animals deserve to be treated decently. “That is certainly not the situation today,” says Hazekamp: “More than 300 million animals spend their lives in small cages in horrible conditions. This survey confirms once again that a large majority of citizens find the abuses in the livestock industry unacceptable. Two recent European citizens’ initiatives, one to ban cages in the livestock industry and one to abolish the fur trade, were also signed by millions of citizens. The European Commission should not simply dismiss the desire for better animal welfare which is so widely supported by society today.”

In 2020, the European Commission promised to start improving European animal welfare regulations. The conditions for animals in the livestock industry would be improved, and a ban on confining farm animals in cages, more stringent supervision in slaughterhouses and shorter animal transports were announced.

“Under pressure from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, most promises on animal welfare now seem to have been shelved. The animal welfare plans were still in the European Commission’s work programme for 2023, but no information about them has been disclosed since October. This is equal to contempt for 8.4 billion animals in the livestock industry and contempt for all those citizens who plead for a more dignified existence for these animals. Only the proposal for shorter animal transports is still expected to come through this year. We have been fighting to tackle these animal transport rules for so long now, but so much more is needed,” Hazekamp concluded.

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