Under the slogan “Together.Resilient.Europe.”, Slovenia takes over in a time where the European Union is focused on rebuilding and recovering after the COVID-19 Pandemic. Slovenia names “strengthening the resilience of the European Union” as one of its priorities and wants to encourage reflection on the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since COVID-19, just like three out of four emerging diseases, was of zoonotic origin, FOUR PAWS hopes that this reflection will include reconsidering the way we treat farmed and wild animals in the European Union. Several outbreaks of COVID-19 on fur farms have shown that those places pose an immense threat to public health and safety and we hope that the presidency will focus on eliminating these risk factors.
However, not only fur farms can become a danger to humans! Other diseases like BSE, Swine Flu and Bird Flu emerged in farmed animals. Intensive, industrial farming played an important role in the spreading of these diseases. FOUR PAWS hopes that the Slovenian Presidency will focus on improving the keeping conditions that farmed animals are exposed to in the European Union as part of their programme on strengthening Europe’s resilience against any future disease outbreaks. FOUR PAWS urges the Slovenian presidency to join the Commission and the Parliament in their pledge to ban caged farming after the successful #EndTheCageAge ECI. Furthermore, results of the ANIT committee need to be taking seriously and lead to changes in the transport regulation. Making our food systems more resilient to climate change protecting biodiversity by reducing meat production and consumption also need to be prioritized and we call on the Slovenian presidency to put these topics on the agenda at the UN Food Systems Summit, COP26 and COP15 This would not only be an important step towards making the EU a safer place, but it would also be in line with the Green Deal.
FOUR PAWS hopes that the Slovenian Presidency will acknowledge the way that human, animal and environmental health are connected and move the European Union towards the One Health, One Welfare approach. Only if we reconsider the way we interact with animals and the environment do we have a chance at tackling major global challenges.
The Slovenian Presidency also wants to focus on strengthening cyber resilience in the European Union since much of life and work moved online during the pandemic. But not only life and work moved, but online trade also boomed and with it the illegal trade in pets. FOUR PAWS hopes that the presidency will acknowledge this problem and focus on identification and registration of companion animals to increase traceability and transparency in the European pet trade.
FOUR PAWS welcomes the Slovenian Presidency of the European Council and hopes for a successful six months that set the European Union on a path out of this difficult situation and into a future that is safer and kinder for humans and animals alike.