Sheep in a transport truck

Demand to Have an EU Commissioner for Animal Welfare

Over 300,000 EU citizens have signed a petition


Over 300,000 EU citizens have signed a petition demanding that there be a European Commissioner for animal welfare.

With just over half a year left of the von der Leyen Commission a new Commission will be formed, and hearings will take place in late 2024, just after the European Parliament elections which take place between 6-9th June.

The petition was handed over by a group led by GAIA, including the global animal welfare organisation, FOUR PAWS, who said that on numerous issues citizens want stronger animal welfare protections and this would be “a symbolic commitment” to the next European Commission´s core mission and values for the next five years.

The petition outlined that more relevance is given to animal welfare by making this responsibility explicit in the name of the relevant Directorate-General and the job title of the competent EU Commissioner.

“2024 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the first piece of EU animal welfare law and what better way to mark that occasion by having a Commissioner specifically to enact and stand up for this key issue.”

Corinna Reinisch, Programme Lead Farm Animal Welfare at FOUR PAWS

Earlier this month, The European Commission’s work programme for 2024 lists only a fraction of the EU animal welfare and sustainable food systems files, with just one of the four-promised legislative proposals on animal welfare, which will be on live animal transport, is set to be delivered.

Reinisch concluded, “After the recent events of reneging on the animal welfare revisions, we must see a concrete commitment that going forward the European Commission is aligned with European citizens' wants and needs, rather than completely out of sync.

“We have seen time and time again that strengthening animal welfare standards is very high on the list of the electorate and a strong and symbolic commitment to protecting the lives of millions of animals across the EU would ensure that it would be core to the next European Commissions legislative agenda.”

Only last week the latest Eurobarometer survey showed an overwhelming level of support for stronger animal welfare legislation across European Union citizens. 91% think that it is important to protect the welfare of farmed animals to ensure that they have decent living condition. 

Pigs in factory farming


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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, France, 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.

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