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Christianne BruschkeToday the Dutch Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Christianne Bruschke, unfolded the views of the Dutch Presidency on the future of the European animal welfare related dossiers stating that animal welfare is not a hype but a basic need in our society as it is fundamental for a sustainable future. She also stressed that high ambitions in the field of animal welfare should be reflected in EU regulations as individual EU countries are no isolated islands.

Dr Bruschke called on the European Commission to put forward a new Communication on an EU Strategy on the protection and welfare of animals for the period 2016-2020. In line with the recently adopted resolution of the European Parliament a new Animal Welfare Strategy should ensure the continuation of delivering high animal welfare standards across the Member States. Moreover, the Dutch Presidency would welcome the Commission to examine the perspectives of an updated, comprehensive and clear legislative framework for animal welfare. Such a framework would provide the opportunity to update existing regulations in accordance with new scientific insights, technological innovation and socioeconomic trends whilst addressing shortcomings and omissions.

Furthermore, a new EU platform on animal welfare, of stakeholder organisations and authorities of member states, run by the European Commission, could create more momentum and focus on the animal welfare challenges of the EU. Such a platform could facilitate discussions and exchange of experiences and best practices on implementation, control and enforcement of animal welfare regulations. The proposal of the platform will be presented at the next Agricultural Council meeting on 15th February.

Moreover, the Dutch Government remains to be a strong supporter of a reduction of transport times of slaughter animals to 8 hours as well as for the improvement of transport of conditions like space allowances. Although not expected during the Dutch Presidency, the European Commission should look into a revision of the current Transport Regulation and the reduction of transport times. In 2015 Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands filed a formal request for a revision of the Transport Regulation to the Commission. All three governments remain to urge the Commission for a revision.

Another point of attention for the Dutch Presidency is phasing out non-therapeutic mutilations in farming as reducing this practice will improve animal welfare and contribute to a more sustainable animal husbandry. One of the routinely applied mutilations is painful piglet castration. The Netherlands is fully committed to ending surgical castration by 2018, the deadline stipulated in the European Declaration to on Alternatives to the Surgical Castration of Pigs ( Brussels declaration). Together with Germany and Denmark, The Netherlands have urged all involved stakeholders to sign the Brussels declaration and to act accordingly.

 

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