Photo credit: Otwarte Klatki / Andrew Skowron
Faced with strong opposition, MHP, the main Ukrainian poultry meat company exporting to the EU, has withdrawn its application for a grant from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Over the past five months, Eurogroup for Animals and its Member organisations have urged the European Union and its Member States to prevent the EBRD from granting another €100 million loan to MHP.
Our message was clear: the loan must respect the rules of the EBRD, which means that the grantee’s operations must follow animal welfare standards equivalent to those applied in the EU. This was not – and still has not – been proven for MHP.
The discussions at the EBRD were postponed several times after the European Commission, through Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, expressed its opposition to the EBRD granting such a loan to MHP. The EBRD had even published a recognition of the numerous concerns voiced by stakeholders and indicated that they would carry out a proper assessment of whether their environmental and social criteria – including animal welfare – were respected.
The decision has been delayed. The Commission strongly opposes the EBRD loan to MHP. We share many of the concerns around the company’s environmental and animal welfare standards + have made our position clear to other shareholders, notably EU member states.
— Cecilia Malmström (@MalmstromEU) May 23, 2019
The announcement by the Ukrainian company that it has finally withdrawn its request for a loan is a victory. Faced with strong opposition from not only the animal welfare movement, the environmental NGOs and the European poultry sector, but also from the EU institutions themselves in the context of difficult EU-Ukraine trade discussions, the company has opted for another way to finance its acquisition of a Slovenian poultry producer, avoiding thus more scrutiny.
Eurogroup for Animals welcomes that no additional European money will fund unsustainable agricultural practices carried out by the Ukrainian poultry giant. In addition, considering the steep increase in animal products imported by the EU from Ukraine, we call on the EU and its Member States to encourage Ukraine to fulfil its commitment to align with EU animal welfare rules faster.