On World Animal Day 2017 the European Court of Auditors announced that it will examine whether the European Commission and the Member States have made effective contributions to the EU’s animal welfare objectives. This is the first time that the EU auditors will carry out an audit on animal welfare. The audit will be confined to farm animals.
Eurogroup for Animals Director Reineke Hameleers said: “Given the serious challenges the European Commission is facing to deliver on its animal welfare objectives, Eurogroup for Animals wholeheartedly welcomes this audit. The lives of animals like pigs, animals in transit and broiler chickens would be significantly improved if EU legislation was being properly enforced, or improved if needed. The EU has the highest animal welfare standards in the world which accumulated in the crucial acknowledgement of animals as sentient beings in one of the Union’s founding treaties. However, according to EU law, animals are only described as meat, commodities or products. There is a huge discrepancy between the letter of the law and actual practise on the farm. We trust that the forthcoming audit will address these flaws.”
Moreover, Eurogroup for Animals believes it is crucial that the auditors examine how animal welfare farming practises and the Common Agricultural Policy can be better connected. Better controls on cross-compliance or innovative uses of Regional Development Funding could potentially have a significantly positive impact on higher welfare in farming and support farmers in innovating their businesses.
“This animal welfare audit comes at a time when EU citizens attach high value to better legislation at EU and national level,” continued Ms Hameleers. “As demonstrated in the latest Eurobarometer, citizens’ support for animal welfare is stronger than ever before. We therefore congratulate Janusz Wojciechowski, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the audit, for taking this initiative, and we look forward to engaging with the auditors where possible.”
The auditors will visit five Member States: Romania, Poland, France, Italy and Germany. The audit report is expected to be published in late 2018.
The European Court of Auditors press release is available here.