Members States call for ambitious animal welfare legislation


Members States call for ambitious animal welfare legislation

11 October 2021
Press Release
During the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting, the Danish delegation presented an information note on the future revision of EU legislation on animal welfare. The information note calls on the European Commission to base the entire animal welfare frame on animal sentience and to implement the ban on cages.

The information note was submitted on behalf of the Belgian, Danish, German, Dutch and Swedish Delegations and refers to a position paper on “a new EU legislative frame for animal welfare focusing on the keeping of animals”, shared with the European Commission (EC) back in September. 

The group of Member States (MSs), also referred to as the “Vught Alliance”, wants to ensure that the new legislative frame for animal welfare is ambitious and that it includes:

  1. An update of current legislation according to new scientific evidence, and also taking into account areas where practical experience has identified enforcement problems due to too general or imprecise provisions. 
  2. New specific legislation for animals that are kept or traded in the context of economic activity, and where there is currently only very general legislation or no legislation.

Eurogroup for Animals welcomes the MSs support for a revision of the animal welfare legislation for kept animals, including companion animals, and also the mention of the trade dimension

Specifically we praise:

  • The support for a ban on cages and the comment on it being “a window of opportunity to rethink the entire framework”, since this systemic change is what we’ve been demanding for a long time. 
  • The breakthrough recognition that animal sentience needs to be the basis for building new legislation ahead of the utility value animals may have for humans.
  • The support for new species specific legislation for species that don't have them yet (pullets, broiler breeders, laying hen breeders, dairy cows, rabbits and turkeys)
  • The mention of animal-based indicators as equally (or even more) important than resource based ones.
  • The need for training for people responsible for the kept animals.

Where the Vught Alliance could have gone further is in including fish and equines amongst the priority species, prohibiting all mutilations and finally banning force feeding for ducks and geese and cages for ducks, geese and quails.

Whilst Member States have differing priorities, it is heartening that there is broad support behind the paper presented by the Vught Alliance, with no dissenting voices from any Member State present.

Member States today sent a strong message to the EC: animals are sentient beings and need to be treated as such. This scientifically proven fact has to become the basis for all future legislation. We now encourage the Commission to take their call into account and work on comprehensive and ambitious new legislation for kept animals to ensure lives worth living.
Reineke Hameleers, CEO, Eurogroup for Animals


Read the Information note Updating animal welfare legislation in the EU

Read the Position paper on a new EU legislative frame for animal welfare 

Download the white paper No Animal Left Behind: The need for a new Kept Animals Regulation

Press contact
Agnese Marcon, Communications Manager, Eurogroup for Animals
+32 (0) 456 078 038

Eurogroup for Animals represents 81 animal protection organisations in 24 EU Member States, the UK, Switzerland, Serbia, Norway, Australia and the US. Since its foundation in 1980, the organisation has succeeded in encouraging the EU to adopt higher legal standards for animal protection. Eurogroup for Animals reflects public opinion through its members and has both the scientific and technical expertise to provide authoritative advice on issues relating to animal protection.