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FOUR PAWS joins the European Commission’s event ‘Animal Welfare Today and Tomorrow’

The global animal welfare organization is excited to participate in the conference organized by the European Institutions to discuss urgent concerns with and needed changes to the EU legislation on animal welfare.


9.12.2021, Brussels – Today, the European Commission is hosting a high-level event with several panel discussions on important animal welfare topics. Amongst the discussed issues are animal welfare labelling, live animal transport, on-farm animal welfare and slaughter. “This event provides the urgently needed space for stakeholders, decision makers and NGOs to discuss these issues, exchange views and hopefully work towards better legislation in the future”, says Pierre Sultana, Director at the European Policy Office at FOUR PAWS. “With the fitness check of the animal welfare legislation coming up, these topics need to discussed and concerns need to be addressed. The high participation rate in last summer’s inception impact assessment and so far over 5600 submitted answers to the public consultation on this topic show how relevant it is to citizens and stakeholders and we hope that this event will set the groundwork for good collaboration between all involved parties in the upcoming revision of legislation.”

FOUR PAWS expert Dr. Alexandra Joos will speak on today’s panel on animal welfare labelling. “What we need is transparency. A multi-tier, mandatory labelling system makes it easier for consumers to verify the means and methods of production behind the products they buy. Consumers want to make informed choices, but apart from shell-eggs, most animal welfare claims are voluntary”, says Dr. Joos. “What we need is a harmonised system across all member states. Labelling is an important step in encouraging producers to go beyond legal standards and brings visibility to farmers that are willing to invest in higher animal welfare. It provides producers with means to communicate their added value and distinguish themselves on the market. A uniform animal welfare labelling scheme is a win for consumers, producers and the animals and will hopefully help to phase out the worst practices.”

While labelling can play a role in urging producers to go beyond legal standards, the legal standards need to be raised as well. With the recent vote on report and recommendations in the ANIT committee and the upcoming vote in the plenary of the European parliament, the topic of transport has been in the headlines recently. “Today’s panel will present the issues and concerns that the members of the ANIT were confronted with to a wider audience. We hope, that this conference highlights the urgency of a revision of Regulation 1/2005 and we once again urge all MEPs to vote in favour of strong recommendations in January’s plenary session”, says Sultana. “Currently, legal requirements are not only frequently violated, but animals can legally be transported for 29 hours without a real break and with insufficient access to food and water and are exposed to extreme weather conditions.”

Earlier this year and last year, the ECI #EndTheCageAge mobilized  1.4 million European citizens to add their signature to a call for a ban on caged farming. “The ECI showed the vast interest of the public in farm animal welfare, but cages are not the only on-farm welfare topic that needs to be addressed”, says Sultana. “The current public consultation offers Europeans to voice their opinions on issues such as tail docking, beak trimming, castration and dehorning. It is beyond time to abolish these cruel practices and move forward towards kinder, more sustainable and animal friendly farming methods. This conference is a chance to address so many issues that impact the welfare of billions of farm animals across the EU every day and are beyond excited to be part of this discussion.”

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 

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