Cows in a barn

Implementation report passed by the European Parliament fails to address major animal welfare concerns

The report is harshly criticized by NGOs for lacking ambition and ignoring scientific discoveries of the last decade.


An own initiative implementation report on on-farm animal welfare, written by French MEP Jérémy Decerle passed through a plenary vote earlier today. Ahead of the vote, several animal welfare NGOs had sent an open letter, urging all MEPs to vote against the report. Today, the report passed with only minor amendments.

“We are very disappointed to see this outcome”, says Pierre Sultana, Director at the European Policy Office at FOUR PAWS. “Over the past years, the European Parliament has adopted several texts, reports and resolutions that were very progressive on matters of animal welfare. Both, the INI report on the farm to fork strategy and the resolution concerning the End the Cage Age ECI gave the impression that MEPs are listening to their citizens and are calling for stricter animal welfare measures. This report however contradicts previous commitments in several places and to see it pass through plenary despite the warnings from experts and NGOs was far from the outcome we hoped for.”

The Report was criticized not only for ignoring scientific knowledge but also for being out of scope and biased. “The implementation report focused heavily on the economic needs and interests of farmers and the topic of labelling rather than the actual implementation of animal welfare legislation and the areas that need improvement. While the needs of farmers and the establishment of an EU labelling scheme are important topics, they are outside the scope for this report.”, says Sultana. “With the amendments added during the vote in the AGRI committee, the Report now justifies the currents system of animal agriculture rather than seeking positive change! European citizens have repeatedly called for stricter animal welfare measures and we urge the Commission to proceed with an ambitious revision of the animal welfare legislation.“

A particularly sore spot in the eyes of animal welfare experts was the mention of Foie Gras production as an animal friendly practice. “Not only has the European Commission’s Scientific Committee for Animal Health and Welfare conclude that the housing and management of animals for Foie Gras production has a negative impact on their welfare, but the European Parliament has already called on the European Commission to ban the force feeding of ducks and geese. This report contradicts that!”

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. 

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