European Parliament AGRI Committee vote fails to promote animal welfare


European Parliament AGRI Committee vote fails to promote animal welfare

27 October 2021

In a disappointing move for animals, the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Parliament adopted draft implementation report by Jeremy Decerle (Renew Europe, FR) on on-farm animal welfare.

Contradicts Farm To Fork

The report calls for future EU-wide animal welfare legislation that would be uniformly transposed in all Member States, but falls short of the Farm to Fork (F2F) ambition for a strong, improved animal welfare acquis with a broad revision of all existent regulations and directives. 

Concentrates on economic interests of farmers

Whilst it promotes the European Citizens' Initiative to end the cage age, it continuously refers to farmers’ compliance with animal welfare standards as an “extra burden”.

Promotes further cruel production of foie gras 

A disappointing amendment downplaying the intensivity and suffering of animals subjected to foie gras production wriggled its way into the report. The amendment claims that foie gras production respects animal welfare criteria. An overtly contradictory statement considering ducks and geese subjected to foie gras production are force fed and their bodies pushed beyond their biological parameters, resulting in intense pain, fear and suffering.  

Amendments addressing the tragic practice of killing male chicks were also voted down.         

Labelling remains voluntary 

Labelling is a fundamental tool to ensure farmers receive fair compensation for improved animal welfare measures on farms and enable consumers to purchase products that align with their animal welfare ethics. A mandatory “Method of Production +” (MOP+) label across all animal products and including rearing, transport and slaughter is key. Unfortunately, MEPs decided to let the labelling of animal products remain voluntary, leaving dangerous room for manoeuvre to farmers and the industry.

Despite being a report on “on-farm animal welfare”, it does not go the distance to reflect its title. Instead, it tries to sugarcoat the realities of the changes that truly need to be implemented. We need farmers to be ambitious and take a main role in implementing the F2F goals. The report will be voted on in plenary, possibly during the December session.