Pigs in Cages


The Document submitted by the respective governments to be discussed in this week’s AGRIFISH Council Meeting addresses several important animal welfare topics.


The Governments of Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden drafted the Paper, which has been discussed today and aims at urging the European Commission to take their concerns into consideration when revising farm animal welfare legislation in the upcoming fitness check. “We welcome the calls for many of the same changes that over 1.4 million European Citizens also called for with the End the Cage Age ECI and also addresses several other urgent animal welfare issues, such as phasing out beak trimming for laying hens and requiring minimum requirements for pullets, broiler breeders, laying hen breeders, rabbits, turkeys and dairy cows.”, says Pierre Sultana, Director at the European Policy office at FOUR PAWS. “However, several important points were left out. We need to not only phase out caged keeping, but ensure that all farmed animals have outdoor access or, at the very least, access to daylight. To achieve this, we need to reduce the overall number of farm animals  in the EU. We hope that this position paper is taken into serious consideration, but urge the European Commission to go beyond its demands when revising the animal welfare legislation.”

“Another pressing issue that is not sufficiently addressed in the position paper submitted by the VUGHT alliance is the issue of genetic selection. While problems in this respect are at least mentioned for dairy cows and broilers, this is missing for the other animal species, such as pigs, rabbits or laying hens”, says Pierre Sultana. “Breeding for dual purpose, lower yields, but more health and longevity is of uttermost importance for animal wellbeing and makes them more resilient to diseases. Keeping farmed animals in good health is not only a matter of animal welfare, but also of public health, which is why it should be prioritized in the upcoming revision of legislation. Many health issues are caused by breeding for high productivity and fast growth rather than health and wellbeing, and these breeding strategies need to be prohibited.”

The fitness check on EU Animal Welfare legislation, which will take place over the next 3 years, will take into consideration the suggestions of member states, the reports of Committees of Inquiry within the European parliament, such as the ANIT, EFSA reports, as well as the responses to a public consultation due to be launched later this month. The legislation concerning animal welfare will be revisited concerning housing, transport and slaughter and, where deemed necessary, revised. “This offers a unique chance to improve animal welfare standards across the European Union, while also taking important steps to protect public health and prevent further pandemics”, says Pierre Sultana “The EU claims to be a leader on animal welfare, and with this revision it can live up to that claim while also supporting the objectives of the European Green Deal, creating a safer and more sustainable future for European Citizens and Animals 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 

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