Pigs in a pig farm

Major EU Survey Shows Citizens Want Better Protections for Animals

The survey comes out just after the European Commission’s announcement of its 2024 plans which miss out key revisions of the animal welfare legislation


Brussels/Vienna, 19 October 2023 – The latest Eurobarometer survey shows 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 conditions.  With 84% of Europeans believing that the welfare of farmed animals in their country should be better protected, 83% of respondents support limiting the transport time of live animals within or from the EU and 9 in 10 people consider that farming and breeding practices should meet basic ethical requirements.

The survey comes out just after the European Commission’s announcement of its 2024 plans which show that it intends to miss out key revisions of the animal welfare legislation for the rest of the mandate, which were promised in May of 2020.

Joe Moran, Director of the European Policy Office at FOUR PAWS, said, “Once again we see an outcry of support from citizens across all 27 EU Member States calling for stronger animal welfare legislation. The Eurobarometer only solidifies and emphasises the absolute urgency to implement and ensure a higher level of animal welfare. This is not a new phenomenon either, for nigh on twenty years Europe’s citizens have consistently called for the betterment of rules for all animals.

“Regrettably, this week we saw the European Commission rowing back on their promise in their Work Programme for 2024 by leaving out key animal welfare reforms.  These figures show that citizens are deeply concerned about the way animals are treated in the entirety of their lives. They want animals to be free of painful mutilations and caged confinement, for all animals to have lives worth living. Such a clear assertion cannot be ignored."

“Now is the time for the European Commission to get back on track, to recommit to publishing the three remaining proposals as soon as is feasible – to let the European Parliament and Council legislate on these important subjects.”

Joe Moran, FOUR PAWS Director of European Policy Office

The survey came after several months of waiting, and two deadlines missed to respond to the ‘Freedom of Information’ request submitted by FOUR PAWS in August and came out just in time before the Commission missed a third deadline, after which the European Ombudsman would have had to start inquiring.

This is not the only survey that has shown such majority support for this issue. Only last year a report published by The European Commission showed that 92% of the nearly 60,000 public respondents wanted stronger legislation on animal welfare.

In 2020 the European Commission promised to revise the EU’s animal welfare legislation to align it with the latest scientific evidence and citizen demands. However, this week it became apparent that it will not deliver three of the four previously expected proposals namely on animals who are kept for commercial purposes, animals at the time of killing and animal welfare labelling. Instead, as confirmed through its Work Programme, only the proposal on Transport will be published in December.



Eurobarometer survey: https://europa.eu/eurobarometer/surveys/detail/2996

26,376 respondents from different social and demographic groups were interviewed. This survey was commissioned by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE).

Eurobarometer is a series of public opinion surveys conducted regularly on behalf of the European Commission and other EU institutions since 1973.

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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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