Ursula von der Leyen urged to uphold democracy and deliver full proposals for the animals


Ursula von der Leyen urged to uphold democracy and deliver full proposals for the animals

11 October 2023
Press Release
Animal protection organisations, MEPs and advocates gathered in front of the Berlaymont and publicly called on President von der Leyen to publish the promised full proposals for a revised animal welfare legislation.

In 2020, the European Commission (EC) committed to revise the animal welfare legislation as part of the Farm to Fork Strategy, but with only months before the end of the political term, the EC has announced that it will only publish one of the four promised proposals (Transport Regulation), leaving millions of animals unprotected and citizens’ calls ignored.  

With the current legislation not having been revised for over two decades, several research studies, including EFSA’s latest opinions, have highlighted that the existing regulations are outdated and insufficient to protect the welfare of animals in Europe. This calls for the urgent need to revise the Kept Animals and Slaughter regulations, yet the EC has failed to provide a timeline.

Among the promised proposals, the EC is expected to reveal its action plan to phase out cages, in response to 1.4 million citizens who have called for their ban in the End the Cage Age ECI.

MEPs Tilly Metz (Greens/EFA, LU), Anja Hazekamp (The Left, NL), Niels Fuglsang (S&D, DK), Michal Wiezik (Renew Europe, SK), Thomas Waitz (Greens/EFA, AT), Manuela Ripa (Greens/EfA, DE), Petras Auštrevičius (Renew Europe, LT), Francisco Guerreiro (Greens/EFA, PT), Caroline Roose (Greens/EFA, FR), Martin Hojsík (Renew Europe, SK) and Martin Buschmann (NA, DE), joined the gathering and publicly called on the EC to deliver the full proposal, as promised.

Millions of citizens are waiting for the European Commission to deliver on these promises and it is in the interest of the credibility of our European institutions not to let them down.
Tilly Metz, MEP
The call was supported by renowned ethologist and conservationist, UN Messenger of Peace and founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, Dr Jane Goodall, PhD:
Every year, 300 million sentient animals are caged, confined in industrial farms across the EU. These systems are outdated and cause immense suffering to animals who are able to feel frustration, fear and pain. Unfortunately, it seems that the powerful agribusiness lobby has been opposing these desperately needed reforms, because for them, the wellbeing of animals is not important. It seems that President von der Leyen has listened to big business, rather than the millions of EU citizens who support the promised ban on cages.
Dr. Jane Goodall

She publicly asked President von der Leyen to meet with her and discuss the issue.

In the past weeks, over 600 scientistsover 100 MEPs and up to 50,000 citizens have called on the EC President to address Europeans’ demands and deliver the proposals.

This commission publicly committed to improve animal welfare. Yet now, at a pivotal moment, we are faced with ambiguity. We don’t need dialogue anymore, we do not need any more economic assessments, and we will not settle for tokens. We are long past those stages. Animal welfare is close to the heart of millions of citizens who now hold this Commission fully accountable for the commitment made to improve the lives of billions of animals in Europe. The time is now, as promised. Revising the animal welfare legislation is the right thing to do.
Reineke Hameleeers, CEO, Eurogroup for Animals

On Thursday 12th October, the European Parliament is set to host a debate on another successful ECI, Fur Free Europe, which calls for the ban of fur farming and the placement of fur products on the European market. The farming ban should also be included in the revised Kept Animals Regulation, answering the call of 1.5 million citizens.