Seminar on Animal Welfare 2016 – 2020 “Delivering results”

On 16/03/2016, in All posts, by Animal Welfare Intergroup

Animal Welfare 2016-2020 Poster (3)Yesterday, the EP Intergroup for the Welfare and Conservation of Animals and Eurogroup for Animals have jointly hosted a high level seminar at the European Parliament to discuss the future of animal welfare in the European Union.

The aim of the event was to open a constructive dialogue on the results to be generated from the Joint Declaration on Animal Welfare initiated by the German, Danish and Dutch Agricultural Ministers in December 2014. When signing the Ministerial Declaration on Pig Welfare launched in April 2015, the Swedish Minister for Agricultural Affairs joined this animal welfare coalition as well. The seminar was the opportunity sought by many to bring decision-makers together from across the EU institutions and to motivate the European Commission to deliver a new EU Animal Welfare Strategy for this term.

Martijn van Dam, the Dutch Minister for Agriculture stressed in his presentation that farm animals are not production units but sentient beings which have a right for more care and compassion. There is a need to move to more sustainable farming methods which will allow a substantially better life to animals and provide good and healthy food for consumers. He expressly referred to the EU Animal Welfare Strategy 2012-2015 which has contributed towards this goal and called for a new Strategy for this term.

The Swedish Minister for Agricultural Affairs, Sven-Erik Bucht said that a sustainable animal production, with healthy animals in a healthy environment, leads to good food that is produced without major impact on the environment and without contributing to the development of antibiotic resistance. This is what many consumers want and the way forward for the EU pig production.

Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union recognises animal sentience but nevertheless the European Commission has adopted a low profile concerning further developments of EU animal welfare related policy, since several years. As a result the regulatory framework is increasingly uncoordinated with new scientific findings, technical innovations, socio-economic trends and transnational crime.

Ben Weyts, the Flemish Minister for Mobility, Public Works, the Vlaamse Rand, Tourism and Animal Welfare picked up this last point by stressing on the need for the right tools to stop the illegal pet trade, a lucrative form of illegal traffic. European standardisation is needed for national pet registration rules as well as a framework to ensure consistency amongst national databases to enhance the traceability of traded animals, their welfare and better protect the interests of animal owners. He also stressed on the need for EU harmonisation regarding the animal species that can be kept as a pets.

This strong political will to resume a European drive to address major animal welfare challenges was also echoed by the MEPs present at the event. They urged the Commission to draw up an ambitious new EU Animal Welfare Strategy for this term so as to ensure the continuity and clarity of operations which are essential to achieving further positive developments in EU animal welfare policy.



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