In 1962, the six founding Member States of the European Economic Community vowed to restore Europe’s capacity to feed itself through the creation of the Common Agricultural Policy (“CAP”). Very quickly, the CAP was successful in achieving food security, so much so that as early as the 1970s farmers started over producing food.
Although the CAP has undergone several reforms aiming to adapt the agricultural support systems to past and current challenges, these reforms have failed to deliver results in transitioning to a more sustainable agriculture and away from intensive production methods. Quite the opposite, the CAP has in fact incentivised the intensification of agriculture across Europe. The predominant business model has become
that of the so-called ‘factory farms,’ where extreme confinement of animals is the norm, entailing excessive use of antibiotics, environmental pollution and degraded labour conditions for workers along the production
Such an orientation in policy stands in sharp contrast with the overwhelming commitment of EU citizens towards farm animal welfare and the societal demand for a CAP more effective in delivering on farm animal welfare objectives.