Open letter to EC Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič on the outstanding 4 Commission proposals on animal welfare

4 Oct 2023
In reaction to yesterday's ENVI hearing of EC Vice President Maroš Šefčovič and the questions raised on the publication of the EU animal welfare legislation revision proposals, the Animal Welfare Intergroup has sent him an open letter.

The Animal Welfare Intergroup urges the European Commission to be firmly committed to the delivery of the revised animal welfare legislation within this term and to to present the four revision proposals as foreseen in the Commission's work programme for 2023.


 Dear Vice-President Šefčovič

We, the members of the EP Intergroup on Animal Welfare and Conservation, welcome the references you have made during your hearing to the ongoing work carried out by the European Commission on the proposals aimed at revising the EU animal welfare legislation. Yet, we regret the absence of any commitment on the timeline for the delivery of such proposals. Not publishing the entire legislative package during this political term would be a democratic failure. The proposals, which were announced in the Commission’s work programme for the autumn 2023, are needed to overhaul a 20-year old legislation which is lagging behind science, and as the Commission itself recognised, is not fit for purpose. Millions of European citizens have called on the European Commission to improve its animal welfare legislation, notably through the two successful ECIs “End the Cage Age” and “Fur Free Europe”. We are thus deeply worried about the implications such delay in delivering the animal welfare proposals may have on the democratic nature of the European Union.

You have mentioned that the work is getting finalised around the proposals to review EU rules on animal transport. Whilst we welcome this, we strongly believe the delivery of only one of the four proposals is highly insufficient. Already now and in the coming years, producers will need to renew their farming systems. Further delaying the revision of the animal welfare legislation as a whole will thus lead to increased risks of seeing investments being wasted as going to systems that are not fit for the future. Such a delay would also prevent the Commission from fulfilling its commitment to banning cages in the EU before the end of the political term. On the revised Transport Regulation, we trust it will aim higher than what has transpired from the impact assessment finalised in July. The upcoming legislation needs to include a phase-out of live exports, shorter journey times for live transport within the EU, a ban on transporting animals in extreme weather conditions, and on transporting unweaned and pregnant animals. Transporting live animals should also gradually be replaced by more trade in meat and carcasses. When it comes to shorter journeys, it is also important to improve existing conditions, notably by providing more space for the animals, access to water and feed, as well as comfortable bedding. We heard the arguments that more assessments are needed to deliver the four proposals, as well as more dialogue. Yet, we understand that the Regulatory Scrutiny Board has approved the impact assessment in July, and the European Food Safety Authority has already provided several opinions to scientifically underpin the proposals. Moreover, the industry, the farmers, the NGOs, and other stakeholders have been discussing this revision for several years, not only in civil dialogue groups established by DG AGRI, but also under the EU Platform on Animal Welfare, and its numerous subgroups. The dialogue should not stop, but it is now time to act for animals! We thank you in advance for your consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Tilly Metz MEP

President of the Animal Welfare Intergroup

Sefcovic at the ENVI hearing picture Euractiv