Procedure : 2018/2858(RSP)
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Document selected : B8-0485/2018

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PV 25/10/2018 - 13.13
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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0484/2018

further to Question for Oral Answer B8‑0410/2018

pursuant to Rule 128(5) of the Rules of Procedure

on animal welfare, antimicrobial use and the environmental impact of industrial broiler farming (2018/2858(RSP))

Herbert Dorfmann on behalf of the PPE Group

European Parliament resolution on animal welfare, antimicrobial use and the environmental impact of industrial broiler farming (2018/2858(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/429 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 on transmissible animal diseases and amending and repealing certain acts in the area of animal health (‘Animal Health Law’)(1),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2017/625 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2017 on official controls and other official activities performed to ensure the application of food and feed law, rules on animal health and welfare, plant health and plant protection products(2),

–  having regard to the EU Hygiene Package of 29 April 2004, namely Regulations (EC) No 852/2004(3), 853/2004(4) and 854/2004(5) of the European Parliament and of the Council,

–  having regard to Council Directive 2007/43/EC of 28 June 2007 laying down minimum rules for the protection of chickens kept for meat production (broilers)(6),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 29 June 2017 entitled ‘A European One Health Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)’ (COM(2017)0339),

–  having regard to Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2017/302 of 15 February 2017 establishing best available techniques (BAT) conclusions, under Directive 2010/75/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, for the intensive rearing of poultry or pigs(7),

–  having regard to the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on veterinary medicinal products of 10 September 2014 (COM(2014)0558),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 19 January 2012 on the European Union Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012-2015 (COM(2012)0006),

–  having regard to the European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes,

–  having regard to the report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 13 April 2018 on the application of Directive 2007/43/EC and its influence on the welfare of chickens kept for meat production, as well as the development of welfare indicators (COM(2018)0181),

–  having regard to the question to the Commission on animal welfare, antimicrobial use and the environmental impact of industrial broiler farming (O-000095/2018 – B8‑0410/2018),

–  having regard to Rules 128(5) and 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2018-2027 confirms that poultry meat remains the primary driver of growth in total meat production; whereas low production costs, high feed conversion ratios and low product prices have contributed to making poultry the meat of choice, both for producers and consumers;

B.  whereas according to a recent study, ‘consumption of poultry meat, as part of a vegetable-rich diet, is associated with a risk reduction of developing overweight and obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and type 2 diabetes mellitus’(8);

C.  whereas the European poultry sector bases its production on the ‘Farm to Fork’ principle(9);

D.  whereas the European Union is recognised to be one of the most committed and leading actors in animal welfare legislation(10);

E.  whereas it is important that Member States and EU producers respect these rules and that the Commission and Member State authorities pursue regular inspections in this field;

F.  whereas the global growth in demand for poultry meat is outpacing the growth in supply; whereas a 120 % increase is projected between 2000 and 2050; whereas the increase in poultry meat consumption has also led to a rise in meat consumption in the EU (share of poultry meat in total meat consumption: 1964: 12.6 %, 2014: 31.4 %);

G.  whereas the best available techniques (BAT) conclusions established in Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2017/302 for the intensive rearing of poultry or pigs provide for techniques and strict associated emission limits to reduce the environmental impact of poultry production, particularly for ammonia emissions to air for broiler production(11);

H.  whereas recent estimates of the environmental impact of animal production show that poultry has the lowest ammonia and greenhouse gas emissions(12);

I.  whereas the level of imports into the EU is higher in the poultry meat sector than in any other meat sector, leading to a situation where 25 % of the breast poultry meat consumed in the EU is coming from third countries with less strict legislation;

J.  whereas most of the imported poultry meat is used in food services or food processing, where information on the origin of the meat is not mandatory;

K.  whereas Brazil(13), Ukraine(14) and Thailand(15), accounting altogether for 90 % of the imports from third countries, have all been subjected to audits by the Commission’s DG SANTE, which have highlighted significant deficiencies in the production process and in respect for EU legislation;

1.  Acknowledges the outcomes of the Commission report on the application of Directive 2007/43/EC and its influence on the welfare of chickens kept for meat production; points out that only two thirds of Member States have established such systems and that authorities and keepers have been able to measure progress and maintain standards based on real broiler welfare outcomes through scoring footpad dermatitis;

2.  Takes the view that regular inspections by Member State authorities and the Commission can ensure the compliance of EU poultry producers in practice with strict EU standards concerning food safety, animal health, the environment and animal welfare; calls on the Commission to ensure that such inspections duly take place on a regular basis throughout the EU;

3.  Emphasises that due implementation of existing strict EU rules is the most important aspect in this field; stresses that Parliament will support competitive and sustainable poultry meat production throughout the EU;

4.  Recognises the efforts already made by farmers on broiler welfare in the various Member States;

5.  Urges the Commission to ensure harmonised implementation of the provisions laid down in the broiler welfare directive in all Member States, in the interests of a level playing field;

6.  Calls on the Commission to propose legislation on mandatory labelling of the origin of processed products containing poultry meat in the retail, catering and food services, so as to enable consumers to make informed choices;

7.  Notes that large-scale livestock production is neither a sustainability nor an environmental issue but, on the contrary, is often better suited for the cost of environmental technologies and thus has lower emissions per produced unit than smaller livestock production(16);

8.  Considers that antimicrobial resistance is a global issue, and notes that the European poultry sector and national authorities are undertaking initiatives to reduce the use of antibiotics through the modernisation of poultry farms(17);

9.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that tests performed on imported poultry meat from third countries comply with EU legislation on animal welfare, food safety and the environment, in order to guarantee a fair and level playing field for EU producers;

10.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.


OJ L 84, 31.3.2016, p. 1.


OJ L 95, 7.4.2017, p. 1.


OJ L 139, 30.4.2004, p. 1.


OJ L 139, 30.4.2004, p. 55.


OJ L 139, 30.4.2004, p. 206.


OJ L 182, 12.7.2007, p. 19.


OJ L 43, 21.2.2017, p. 231.


Marangoni F. et al., Role of poultry meat in a balanced diet aimed at maintaining health and wellbeing: an Italian consensus document, Food and Nutrition Research. 2015; 59: 10.3402/fnr.v59.27606.


European Parliament Fact Sheet on Food Safety.


Broom, D. M, Animal Welfare in the European Union, Study for the European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions, European Union, 2017.


OJ L 43, 21.2.2017, p. 231 – see table 3.2.


Willems, O.W. et al., Aspects of selection for feed efficiency in meat producing poultry, World’s Poultry Science Journal 69:77-88, March 2013.


European Commission Audit Report on Brazil, Beef, horse and poultry meat - follow up of recommendations of audit report DG SANTE/2017-626, 25 June 2018.


European Commission Audit Report on Ukraine, Poultry meat and products derived therefrom, 20 July 2018.


European Commission Audit Report on Thailand, Poultry meat and products derived therefrom, 23 August 2018.


Von Witzke, H. et al., Societal benefits of modern poultry meat production in Germany and the EU, HFFA Research GmbH, Germany, 2017.


France: Anses Press Release of 5 October 2017 entitled ‘Antimicrobial resistance in animal health: animal exposure to antimicrobials continued to decline in 2016’.

UK: British Poultry Council post of 4 June 2018 entitled ‘British poultry meat sector’s drive for excellence in bird health delivers again on antibiotic stewardship’.

Last updated: 18 October 2018Legal notice