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European Commission Set to Overlook Major Animal Welfare Reforms

Only one of the four-promised legislative proposals on animal welfare is set to be delivered


Brussels/Vienna, 17 October 2023 – Leaked papers show that the European Commission’s work programme for 2024 lists only a fraction of the EU animal welfare and sustainable food systems files.

The work programme, called ‘Delivering today and preparing for tomorrow’, outlining the European Commission’s plans for which proposals it intends to put forward, misses out key revision of the animal welfare legislation for the rest of the mandate, which ends in June 2024.

Just one of the four-promised legislative proposals on animal welfare, which will be on live animal transport is set to be delivered according to the leaks.

Joe Moran, Director of European Policy Office at FOUR PAWS, said “We have heard over the past three years, with Commissioner after Commissioner telling us that animal welfare was and remained a priority for the European Commission. Now three years after being promised generational reforms of all the animal welfare legislation, we are ending up with the Commission scrapping the barrel. It still remains a priority for millions of EU citizens.

“This is a major setback and a major U-turn, which raises serious questions that need to be answered. It is disheartening that they have reneged on their word, but there will be no despondency from the animal welfare community, these reforms are needed more than ever, to protect millions of animals from suffering."

“We will continue to ensure that the animal welfare revision is followed through and that is aligned it with the latest scientific evidence as well as meeting the values of a modern European Union.”

Joe Moran, FOUR PAWS Director of European Policy Office

Previously Executive Vice-President Šefčovič had stated that “Animal welfare is and will remain a priority for the Commission”, while European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, had said “If it matters to Europeans, it matters to Europe”, however this U-turn will mean that this Commission is set to break its promise to deliver proposals to ‘End the Cage Age’, in line with the demands of 1.4 million European citizens, by the end of 2023.



May 2022 - Revision of the animal welfare legislation: “The Farm to Fork Strategy adopted by the Commission on 20 May 2020 announced that the Commission will, by the end of 2023, revise the animal welfare legislation to align it with the latest scientific evidence. In addition, the revision will broaden its scope, make its enforcement easier and ultimately ensure a higher level of animal welfare. The Commission plans to revise the following pieces of legislation: the Directive on the protection of animals kept for farming purposes, four Directives laying down minimum standards for the protection of laying hens, broilers, pigs and calves; and the Regulations on the protection of animals during transport and at the time of killing.”

The European elections will happen between 6-9th June 2024.

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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. www.four-paws.org

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