The meeting was chaired by Jeppe Kofod (DK, S&D), who highlighted the successes of the Intergroup. The determined actions of Intergroup Members succeeded to have a positive impact on animal welfare during a difficult time with few legislative initiatives on this matter. Although the Intergroup is an unofficial body, it is the focal point of discussion for animal welfare issues in the Parliament and is considered as such. In this position, the Intergroup sustained a constructive dialogue with the Commission and its Commissioners.
This Intergroup, gathering MEPs from all the Political Groups and from 24 Member States, is one of the largest and the best attended. Besides the monthly meeting, the Intergroup organised many high-level events. During this legislative term, topic-related working groups were also developed to advance specific animal welfare issues, for example pig welfare, live transport or cage-free farming.
The Intergroup’s work covered all kinds of animals: farm animals, wildlife, animals used in science and pets. As key successes, Jeppe Kofod MEP mentioned, among many others, the motion for a resolution on a new animal welfare strategy, the own initiative report on minimum standards for the protection of farm rabbits, the own initiative report on responsible ownership and care of Equidae, the motion for a resolution on the impact of industrial broiler farming, the motion for a resolution on the introduction of compatible systems for the registration of pet animals across Member States, the motion for a resolution on a global ban to end animal testing, the own initiative report on an EU action plan against wildlife trafficking, and the implementation report on the protection of animals during transport within and outside the EU.
Reineke Hameleers, Director of Eurogroup for Animals introduced the campaign “Vote for Animals 2019” which highlights the key policy objectives for animal welfare in the coming five years and targets candidates for the European elections 2019 who wish to publicly demonstrate their commitment to work for these issues, if elected.
Animal welfare deeply matters to EU citizens: according to a recent public consultation 12% of EU citizens consider that EU policy decisions on animal welfare make them prouder of belonging to the EU. Most European political parties have taken this issue into consideration when drafting their priorities for the next legislative term. Animal welfare is indeed mentioned in the programme or side documents of the EPP, the S&D, the The Greens/EFA, the ECR and the GUE/NGL.
Despite these references, it will be very important to ensure that individual candidates make clear commitments on animal welfare and that citizens are properly informed on their positions. The campaign “Vote For Animals 2019” is therefore calling on the candidates to sign a pledge for animals. The pledge consists of 21 commitments to enhance the welfare of animals in human care including farm animals, animals used in research, wildlife and companion animals. Candidates will have the opportunity to select all the commitments or to tick at least five they want to support. Most of the commitments in the pledge build on the work already undertaken by this Intergroup.
All signed pledges of the candidates for the European elections will be published on the campaign website, available in 22 languages and will allow voters throughout the European Union to choose their favourite candidate according to the commitments made in the pledge. A majority of Eurogroup for Animals member organisations will be actively involved in this campaign and relay these commitments on social media.
Jeppe Kofod MEP was the first to officially sign the pledge. Throughout the Intergroup session, MEPs who will be candidates for the European elections 2019 had the opportunity to sign the pledge ‘Vote for Animals 2019’ and many of them already commit to continue their fight for animal welfare in the next legislative term.
The livestream of the Session is available here.
The presentations are available here.