European Parliament supports Party for the Animals’ green and animal-friendly food plans
A large majority of the European Parliament last week approved plans by the Party for the Animals for a healthy, sustainable and more animal-friendly food system. Parliament voted for reducing the number of animals in European livestock farms, curbing greenhouse gases in the livestock industry and combating the loss of nature. The use of pesticides and antibiotics must be at least halved by 2030. Furthermore, bans on cages in the food industry, on the import of problematic horse meat, and better legislation for slaughterhouses and animal transports are on the horizon thanks to the Party for the Animals.
"A majority voted for fewer mega stables, more organic farming, reducing livestock density and encouraging a more plant-based diet. They also acknowledge that intensive livestock farming increases the risk of zoonoses outbreaks. A truly historic moment - until now, criticism of intensive livestock farming was a taboo in Brussels," says MEP Anja Hazekamp of the Dutch Party for the Animals. As rapporteur, she plays a key role in defining the European Parliament's position on the European Farm-to-Fork strategy and has written the report with additional proposals.
"Our food system needs to be reformed in such a way that it functions within our earth’s bandwidth. Intensive meat production and large-scale monocultures are currently too much of a burden on people, animals, the environment, and the climate. Solutions are to produce food more sustainably, healthier, in a more animal friendly way, and locally. To this end, clear and accountable goals must be set," Hazekamp writes in her adopted report.
Cheaper fruit and vegetables, promote healthy foods
To encourage eating healthy and environmentally friendly food, EU countries should be given more freedom to make healthy products such as fruit and vegetables cheaper than unhealthy and polluting products. This can be done by exempting healthy food from VAT, making it cheaper. At present, EU rules prevent this, but the European Parliament wants to see change.
It also wants clearer information with regards nutritional values, sustainability, and animal welfare on food labels. Misleading health claims on products that contain a lot of fat or sugar must become a thing of the past. Manufacturers are also encouraged to use less sugar, fat, and salt in their products.
The call to improve the conditions for animals in the livestock industry is at the heart of Hazekamp's now adopted report. For example, there will be a revision of the European legislation for slaughterhouses and animal transports, where much serious abuse still takes place. Parliament also supports the plan to no longer lock up farm animals in cages from 2027, as recently advocated in a European Citizens' Initiative.
Import and Mercosur
On the initiative of the Party for the Animals, Parliament is also demanding that the EU impose stricter regulations on products imported from countries outside the Union. Meat and other animal products that do not meet European standards must be refused to counteract unfair competition for European farmers and prevent damage to animal welfare and the environment elsewhere. In addition, Parliament explicitly speaks out against the free trade agreement with the South American Mercosur countries. A majority refuse to ratify the treaty, because it does not guarantee the protection of the Amazon, nor the application of decent production standards.
Horse meat and blood farms
The parliament also supported a ban on the import of problematic horse meat from South America. EU checks and animal welfare organisations repeatedly found cases of gross abuse in the keeping and slaughter of the horses, as well as food safety risks. And yet, a country like the Netherlands still imports millions of kilos of horse meat each year from South America.
The Party for the Animals’ proposal to ban the import and European production of the fertility hormone PMSG was adopted as well. PMSG is used in the livestock industry. For its production, a lot of blood is drained from pregnant horses on an ongoing basis, on so-called blood farms. This results in health problems and suffering. Hazekamp has often argued for a ban and this request is now supported by a majority of the European Parliament as well.