Animal welfare - Pre-legislative synthesis of national, regional and local positions on the European Commission's initiative

Briefing 06-12-2023

This briefing provides a pre-legislative synthesis of the positions of national, regional and local governmental organisations' positions on the European Commission's forthcoming recommendation on animal welfare. It forms part of an EPRS series offering a summary of the pre-legislative state-of-play and advance consultation on a range of key European Commission priorities during its five-year term in office. It outlines the current state of affairs, examines how existing policy is working on the ground, and identifies best practice and ideas for the future from governmental organisations at all levels of the EU's system of multi-level governance. EPRS analysis of the positions of partner organisations at European Union (EU), national, regional and local levels suggests that they would like the following main considerations to be reflected in discussion of the forthcoming proposal on animal welfare: - Animal welfare is a topic of high importance for the great majority of EU citizens. According to Eurobarometer, 84 % of Europeans believe that the welfare of farmed animals should be better protected in their country. - A number of national and regional contributions to the Commission proposal indicate that Member States and their regions are involved in improving animal welfare in various ways. However, there is no common unified trend as some EU countries tend to be more ambitious than others in upgrading animal welfare rules. - Member States have made a number of proposals on animal welfare such as improving transport conditions (through shorter travel time and better travel conditions), adding new species under protection rules, promoting new methods of animal keeping and slaughtering, implementing stricter controls and monitoring, as well as introducing an EU products label to include information on animal welfare. Protecting EU farmers and the European food industry from unfair competition from non-EU imported products, is a recurring theme. - Additional resources and time are sought to prepare farmers and the EU food industry for the coming changes to animal welfare rules. Training stakeholders to improve animal welfare standards is also another recurring suggestion. - The EU has set common rules on animal welfare. It provides added value through EU funding, which is used to adopt animal protection measures and brings national and regional stakeholders together to exchange views on better animal welfare practices.