Maltese presidency of the council called upon to secure future European animal welfare policies
“The Maltese Presidency of the Council for the first half of 2017 offers key opportunities for animal welfare” said Eurogroup for Animals Director, Reineke Hameleers, “As the only EU Member State with a Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animals Rights we count on the Maltese Government to deliver clear results”.
March 2016’s special Eurobarometer on animal welfare showed an overwhelming support for better animal protection and policies, particularly in Malta. With for example 87% of the Maltese believing that farm animals should be better protected than they are now, the Eurobarometer results evidenced how strongly Maltese citizens expect Europe’s interventions for improved animal welfare across the EU.
Eurogroup for Animals is convinced, as highlighted in the Memorandum shared today, that the Maltese Government can make a difference to the lives of millions of animals. In particular, it called on the Maltese Government to use its Presidency of the Council to improve the welfare of animals kept as pets.
Whilst the EU is a leader with respect to many legislative animal welfare standards, the progress over the last six years in terms of delivering real improvements for animals has slowed down considerably. There has been a notable lack of legal enforcement, poor implementation of the existing law and some key standards have even been withdrawn.
Reineke Hameleers stressed that “Animal welfare is not a luxury, to be dealt with as an afterthought. By improving welfare, we will also foster sustainable markets and growth, revamp a more quality-driven food chain, enhance environmental protection and grow consumer protection”.
Eurogroup for Animals urged the Maltese Presidency to guide the creation of the new Animal Welfare Platform for it to be an effective and meaningful body.
Marlene Mizzi MEP commented “Animals are sentient beings living on our planet trying to survive and live in peace. They suffer, as we suffer, they hurt as we do. It is really difficult for me to understand anyone who would abuse a poor defenceless animal. Unfortunately, a lot of people in the world think that animals are just money earning machines, for food, to be used for scientific purposes, to be hunted, trapped and exploited in a variety of other ways. Animals should not be abused but treated with dignity and respect. We need to safeguard the rights of our voiceless friends”.
In a formal hand-out moment, Eurogroup for Animals’ Memorandum was received positively by the Maltese Government who sees an opportunity to build on the previous Council Presidencies’ work in this policy area. The Maltese Government shared in particular its intention to promote companion animal welfare during its term and to undertake new initiatives to tackle the problems related to the keeping of and trade in exotic animals as pets.
“We look forward to working with all relevant stakeholders on animal welfare”, said Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights, Roderick Galdes. “The Maltese Government is passionately committed to animal protection and to continuously improving animal welfare – the creation of my role as Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights is evidence of this. During my tenure, Malta has introduced a number of national initiatives to address animal welfare concerns such as the banning of animal acts in circuses, the introduction of an animal ambulance and aftercare service, inspectors collaborating with the police to enforce the Animal Welfare Act, the setting up of an Animal Welfare Fund to help NGOs working in this field and the establishment of a new veterinary hospital.”
Eurogroup for Animals looks forward to the collaboration with the Maltese Presidency and wishes the Maltese administration a successful six months.
For the full Eurobarometer report, follow this link: http://data.europa.eu/euodp/en/data/dataset/S2096_84_4_442_ENG