No ‘new green revolution’… Not even an evolution

Parliament goes for business as usual on the Common Agriculture Policy


Brussels, October 23rd, 2020. Concluding an entire week of votes on the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) the European Parliament sealed its position on how agricultural subsidies should be granted to farmers. Against all calls from civil society to MEPs, the vote confirms the adoption of the compromised amendments voted on Tuesday in a rather untransparent and undemocratic way. The change in European agriculture which was ambitioned in Commission’s “Farm to Fork” strategy, has thus been put on hold for the time being. Instead, the unambitious compromise engraves direct payments as the largest block of the agricultural budget. These subsidies, awarded per hectare are not conditioned to any benefits for the common good such as animal welfare, environmental or climate protection.

“During his speech at the Farm to Fork 2020 conference, Agriculture Commissioner Wojciechowski refused to call for a ‘new green revolution’ but rather an ‘evolution’ toward more sustainable and animal welfare friendly farming. We are devasted that the Parliament ignored his call as well as civil societies’ exhortation to tangibly rebalance the CAP towards the environment and the animals.”

Pierre Sultana, Director of FOUR PAWS’ European Policy Office in Brussels

A glimmer of hope: animal welfare will for the first time become a specific objective of the common agricultural policy. This is reflected in the funding opportunities offered by the proposed Eco-Schemes, which provide optional support for animal welfare. The Parliament offers to spend 30 percent of the EAGF budget on these schemes. A similar agreement has been found in the European Council, even though the deal opts for a much lower amount dedicated to these funding. Nevertheless, farmers who really want to promote greater animal welfare can be rewarded with subsidies from the first pillar.

“At the end, farmers will still not be obliged to improve the welfare of the animals on their farm, even if this one is quite poor. Animal welfare measures should therefore be made compulsory. The report even proposes to remove rules on identification and registration of animals from conditionality. These rules are vital from the point of view of food safety, traceability, but also with regard to animals in case of disasters. A livestock farmer who does not respect these rules should not be supported under the CAP.

Pierre Sultana, Director of FOUR PAWS’ European Policy Office in Brussels

The Parliament’s position will now be negotiated with the Council and the Commission.

As representative of the Council, we urge Minister Klöckner and Commissioner Wojciechowki to ensure that the future CAP truly encompasses sufficient funding to improve the welfare of animals in Europe. This requires attractive support programmes in the first and second pillar. In addition, breaches to existing legislations must be sanctioned, and funding reduced in case of non-compliance. In turn, we urge Member States to ensure that ambitious goals for animal welfare, environment and climate are implemented in their national strategic plans”

Pierre Sultana, Director of FOUR PAWS’ European Policy Office in Brussels

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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