BRUSSELS – Animal welfare organisations from across Europe demanded that the European Commission committed to their pledge to publish the new animal welfare revisions before the end of this year after recent suggestions this would not happen.
The European Commission announced in May 2020 that “by the end of 2023, revise the animal welfare legislation to align it with the latest scientific evidence.” However, last week, Executive Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič wrote to Members of the European Parliament indicating the European Commission will not deliver fully on its animal welfare legislative reforms.
The von der Leyen Commission’s intent is now to only go ahead with just one of the four-promised legislative proposals on animal welfare, which will be on live animal transport, in the remainder of this legislative term which ends next year.
The demonstration happened outside the Berlaymont building, the European Commission's headquarters, with the groups reiterating the need for a ban on fur farms, to phase out the use of caged farming across Europe, and major revisions of the slaughter regulation.
The event also saw speeches from key MEPs calling for the European Commission to deliver, such as Tilly Metz (Greens/EFA, LU), Anja Hazekamp (The Left, NL), Niels Fuglsang (S&D, DK) and Thomas Waitz (Greens, AT).
Thomas Waitz MEP, said, “Commissioner Stella Kyriakides (for Health and Food Safety) just before the summer promised us in the AGRI committee she would deliver the files before September or October … they have let citizens down by not coming up with new legislation … This is not a political party or ideological related question [to want stronger animal welfare protections].”
Joe Moran, Director of European Policy Office at FOUR PAWS said, “There is a real sense of anger. disappointment and disbelief that the von der Leyen Commission appear to be flip-flopping on such a flagship legislative package at the very last minute.
“The reforms were to be the first significant update in 20 years and now it seems that the wait will go on to ensure furthering progressive animal welfare law across EU member states. It is not justifiable or acceptable to EU citizens who have always had animal welfare standards as a high priority.
“We will push to ensure that the remaining measures are delivered as soon as possible. I implore the Commission to deliver on their commitment and waste no time in publishing the wide-spread reforms that are so desperately needed for animals and humans alike.”
FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, orangutans and elephants – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in twelve countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org