- Clearer and more uniform EU animal welfare rules
- Better financial incentives for affected farmers
- EU animal welfare labelling system
EU animal welfare legislation needs an update and uniform application in all Member States, Agriculture MEPs say.
The draft resolution on the implementation report on on-farm animal welfare rules, adopted by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development on Tuesday by 36 votes to 5 and 7 abstentions, stresses that the current EU legislation on the welfare of food-producing animals is not consistently implemented across Member States, lags behind the scientific advances and establishes specific minimum welfare standards only for a number of species. MEPs, led by the rapporteur Jérémy Decerle (Renew, FR), call for science-based uniform rules oriented both on farmers and consumers.
Up-to-date legislation supporting farmers
The draft resolution calls for a future proof EU animals welfare rules that would be uniformly transposed in all Member States. It should be based on scientific data, impact assessments and a species by species approach, the text says.
Farmers must be provided with sufficient time, support and financing so that they can invest in better animal welfare. The update should also take into account EU farmers' income and competitiveness in the global agricultural market, according to the MEPs.
“Ending the Cage Age”
Agriculture MEPs welcome the European Citizens' Initiative “End the Cage Age” and urge to prohibit battery cages for laying hens. MEPs, however, want species based approach using clear definitions of a cage. Special financial support to transition to alternative housing system for animals should be provided to breeders impacted by the new standards.
Welfare labelling of animal products
Current voluntary and mostly private EU animal welfare labelling systems vary considerably. In order to provide consumers with reliable labelling of animal products on welfare-related aspects of their entire production cycle, agriculture MEPs advocate a voluntary EU animal labelling system covering all livestock farms. For the future, the possibility of a mandatory EU labelling should be examined, they say.
The resolution on the implementation report on on-farm animal welfare now needs to be voted by the full house of the Parliament, possibly during the December session.
The resolution addresses the implementation of EU legislation on the welfare of food-producing animals, namely directives concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes, on the protection of laying hens, chickens kept for meat production, calves and pigs.