Organic Action Plan: what it could mean for animal welfare


Organic Action Plan: what it could mean for animal welfare

25 March 2021
Eurogroup for Animals welcomes the European Organic Action Plan 2021-2027 released today by the European Commission. The publication of the Organic Action plan follows the objectives set out in the Farm to Fork Strategy and the Biodiversity Strategy of “at least 25% of the EU’s agricultural land under organic farming and a significant increase in organic aquaculture by 2030.”

Eurogroup for Animals particularly welcomes the contribution of the Action Plan to better align animal welfare with the societal demands on higher animal welfare and to further improve animal welfare in organic production. The recognition of the link between aquaculture and animal welfare, as well as the promotion of organic aquaculture is also welcomed. The Commission states that organic farming already plays an important role in improving the welfare of animals and that animal welfare is an integral part of sustainable food systems. However there are still animal welfare issues in organic farming that urgently need to be addressed. 


Reineke Hameleers, CEO of Eurogroup for Animals, stated that

reflecting the ambitions of the Farm to Fork strategy, organic farming should lead the way towards the EUs state of the art sustainable and humane food production model. While the language in the Organic Action Plan is still vague, we welcome the Commission's commitment to improving animal welfare including farmed fish. We are looking forward to working with the Commission to ensure organic farming will embrace the highest possible animal welfare standards.

Eurogroup for Animals recommend the European Commission to:

  • Quantify the target for organic aquaculture by aligning it with the target for terrestrial farming, i.e. 25% of aquaculture sites by 2030.
  • Implement concrete animal welfare improvements such as slow-growing breeds in broilers, a ban on surgical castration of pigs and transport time limitations.
  • Adopt Methods of Production (MoP+) labelling with one of the top levels integrating organic production.
  • Ensure proper enforcement of the existing organic rules for animal welfare, e.g effective stunning of fish at slaughter, before granting the organic logo. 
  • In identifying the obstacles for more organic agriculture and aquaculture, the reduction and replacement of animal products and a shift to more plant-based diets, as well as the need to shift to low-trophic aquatic species, should be seen as solutions. 

Read the European Organic Action Plan 2021-2027.