STRASBOURG – A European Parliament report on animal welfare was passed yesterday evening which set out to address the implementation of EU legislation on the welfare of food-producing animals.
FOUR PAWS, the global animal welfare organisation, called it yet “a tangible failure to fundamentally tackle the significant and urgent issues of animal welfare at EU level.”
"We are tremendously disappointed to see this overall outcome. Over the past years, the European Parliament has adopted several texts, reports and resolutions that were very progressive on matters of animal welfare giving the impression that MEPs are listening to their citizens and are calling for stricter animal welfare measures, but in this case, we have a seen another major opportunity side stepped which would further protect animals and citizens in Member States.
“This report however contradicts previous commitments and to see it passed despite the warnings from experts and NGOs is not only disappointing and a backward approach.”
Pierre Sultana, Director at the European Policy Office at FOUR PAWS
Ahead of the vote, several major animal welfare NGOs had sent an open letter, urging all MEPs to vote against the report. Yesterday, the report passed with only minor amendments.
The Report was criticised not only for ignoring scientific knowledge but also for being out of scope and biased.
Sultana highlighted the key points, “The implementation report focused heavily on the economic needs and interests of farmers and the topic of labelling rather than the actual implementation of animal welfare legislation and the areas that need improvement. While the needs of farmers and the establishment of an EU labelling scheme are important topics, they are outside the scope for this report.”
A particularly sore spot in the eyes of animal welfare experts was the mention of Foie Gras production as an animal friendly practice.
Sultana concluded, “Not only has the European Commission’s Scientific Committee for Animal Health and Welfare conclude that the housing and management of animals for Foie Gras production has a negative impact on their welfare, but the European Parliament has already called on the European Commission to ban the force feeding of ducks and geese. This report contradicts that completely, we need clarity and consistency on such an important and obvious matter.”
FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org