Special Eurobarometer on animal welfare: EU citizens give strong impetus to deliver all animal welfare legislation

Special Eurobarometer on animal welfare: EU citizens give strong impetus to deliver all animal welfare legislation

19 October 2023
Press Release
A new barometer on animal welfare shows an overwhelming majority of European citizens who demand better EU legislation that truly protects animals, with over nine in ten Europeans stating that it is important to protect the welfare of farmed animals, and an absolute majority deeming it very important. More than eight in ten Europeans believe that farmed animals in their countries should be better protected than they are now.

These results should prompt the European Commission to follow through on its commitment to deliver all the proposals to revise the EU animal welfare legislation as promised.

The much awaited special Eurobarometer on Attitudes of Europeans towards Animal Welfare has finally been published today. The poll surveyed 26,376 citizens across all member states between 2 and 26 March 2023, and acts as an official tool that is used to advise the EU institutions when drafting reports and legislations.

The results confirmed the strong support from EU citizens towards animal welfare, confirming the previous survey from 2016, which had also sent a very strong message for the EU to better protect animals. 

Highlights from the survey:

  • Over 90% of Europeans consider that farming and breeding practices should meet basic ethical requirements, while two-thirds of respondents said that they would like to have more information on the conditions in which farmed animals are raised.
  • Nearly six in ten Europeans (57%) said that fur farms should be banned in Europe, in line with the 1.5 million citizens who made this call in the successful Fur Free Europe ECI 
  • Over nine in ten Europeans believe that farmed animals should have enough space to be able to move around, lie down and stand up, with 89% saying that animals should not be kept in individual cages, supporting the call by 1.4 million citizens who asked for a ban on cages. Currently in the EU, over 300 million farmed animals spend their lives confined in cages, which cause them immense suffering.
  • Nearly nine in ten Europeans (88%) said that it is important to improve the welfare of animals in slaughterhouses
  • 89% of Europeans favoured a ban on mutilations, a practice that is still very common in the EU, despite the pain it causes. 
  • Three quarters of respondents found the practice of killing male chicks after birth to be unacceptable. In addition, eight in ten Europeans believe that ensuring sufficient skills and training in people handling animals is important.
  • On the issue of live animal transport, which the EC is expected to propose a revision on, 83% of respondents think that the travel time for the transport (for 'commercial purposes') of live animals within or from the EU should be limited.
  • When it comes to food imports from non-EU countries, over eight in ten Europeans (84%) believe that the current animal welfare situation should change, either by imposing import requirements or a very strict labelling system. 
  • 60% of the respondents indicated that they would be willing to pay more for products sourced from animal welfare-friendly farming systems, despite the survey being carried out during high inflation periods.
  • 74% believe that the welfare of companion animals should be better protected, and over eight in ten respondents said that good welfare conditions for horses, cats and dogs bred for commercial purposes is important.

These results come at a time when the European Commission comes under fire for failing to uphold its commitment to deliver the full proposals to revise the EU animal welfare legislation, and backtracking from its promises as part of the Farm to Fork Strategy.

The support of EU citizens for better animal welfare is enormous, with this Eurobarometer once again they made a clear call for better protection for animals on all fronts. We urge the European Commission to listen to this loud and clear message and come forward with a solid commitment and timeline for the Kept Animals and Slaughter Regulations

Reineke Hameleers, CEO, Eurogroup for Animals