MEPs urge European Commission to deliver on animal welfare proposals


MEPs urge European Commission to deliver on animal welfare proposals

14 March 2024
In plenary today, Members of the European Parliament urged the European Commission (EC) to come forward with the outstanding legislative proposals on animal welfare, the future of which remains uncertain. They stressed that the delay is putting the credibility of European institutions in question, as citizens’ demands remain unanswered.

The EC had committed to publish four animal welfare proposals by the end of 2023, but backtracked from this promise by only publishing an unambitious Transport Regulation, and not putting forward the promised Kept Animals, Slaughter and Labelling regulations. The proposals were also set to include phasing out cages by 2027, in reply to the End the Cage Age ECI in which 1.4 million citizens asked for a transition to cage-free systems. 

During the plenary today, a record number of MEPs (41) intervened in the oral question tabled by Neils Fuglsang (S&D, DK). 30 MEPs stressed that while the EC continues to delay action, millions of animals continue to suffer in horrible conditions across all stages of their lives; from farm to transport to slaughter. They criticised the EC for doing “very little for animal welfare in the past legislative term, and questioned the democratic aspect of ECIs if policymakers do not react to the demands of the citizens.You are letting down 3 million citizens,” many reiterated, making reference to the End the Cage Age and Fur Free Europe ECIs - both of which remain pending action by the EC.

They urged the EC to come forward with a concrete timeline and answer to the demands of millions of EU citizens.

Elisa Ferreira, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, while admitting that more needs to be done for resilient food systems, said that work on these legislative files is “still ongoingand the EC “is analysing the best course of action”. She did not make any commitments on timeline

In the run-up to the European Elections, Eurogroup for Animals has launched the Vote for Animals campaign which encourages candidate MEPs to take a pledge for animals, while informing citizens about the importance of these elections for progress on animal welfare. European citizens can send a message to their candidates asking them to commit to the pledge.

The EC broke its promise on presenting the animal welfare legislation package. And while we wait for a clear timeline, millions of animals continue to live in cages, male chicks continue to be gassed at a day old, while chickens are bred to grow so fast their bodies cannot keep up. These animals deserve a legislative proposal, but there is none. We call on the EC to present a concrete timeline.

MEP Neils Fuglsang (S&D).

What has happened to the promised legislation? What about the ban on cages? We have been fighting for years. How long will these animals have to wait?  Not a day longer.

MEP Anja Hazekamp (The Left)

Not answering to the demands of ECIs would threaten the credibility of EU institutions - the animal welfare legislation should be a priority in the next mandate. We are disappointed - we need to see changes.

MEP Tilly Metz (Greens/efa)

The ECI is an excellent tool to improve democracy, but it only works if those who make the law react to what the citizens want. 1.4 million citizens asked for a ban on cages - more than four years have passed and 300 million animals continue to spend their lives in terrible conditions.

MEP Róża Thun Und Hohenstein (Renew).