Agriculture MEPs call for science-based update of animal welfare rules

  • Clearer and more uniform European rules on animal welfare
  • Better financial incentives for affected farmers
  • EU Animal Welfare Labeling System

The draft resolution on the report on the implementation of rules relating to the welfare of animals on farms, adopted on Tuesday by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development by 36 votes to 5 and 7 abstentions, underlines that the Current EU legislation on the welfare of food-producing animals is not systematically implemented in member states, lags behind scientific progress and only sets specific minimum welfare standards for a number of species. MEPs, led by the rapporteur Jérémy Decerle (Renew, FR), call for uniform rules based on science and geared towards both farmers and consumers.

Up-to-date legislation in favor of farmers

The draft resolution calls for future-proof European rules on animal welfare which would be transposed uniformly in all Member States. It should be based on scientific data, impact assessments and a species-by-species approach, the text says.

Farmers need to have enough time, support and funding to be able to invest in better animal welfare. The update is also expected to take into account the incomes and competitiveness of European farmers in the global agricultural market, MEPs said.

“Ending the Age of Cages”

Agriculture MPs salute the European citizens’ initiative “End the age of the cage” and urge to ban battery cages for laying hens. However, MEPs want a species-based approach using clear definitions of a cage. Special financial support for the transition to an alternative housing system for animals should be provided to farmers affected by the new standards.

Animal welfare labeling

The EU’s current voluntary and predominantly private labeling systems for animal welfare vary widely. In order to provide consumers with reliable labeling of products of animal origin on welfare aspects of their entire production cycle, agriculture deputies advocate a voluntary labeling system for animals from the EU covering all livestock farms. For the future, the possibility of mandatory EU labeling should be explored, they say.

Next steps

The resolution on the farm animal welfare implementation report now has to be voted on by the whole of Parliament, possibly in the December session.

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