On May 22, during the National Day of Animal Rights, we met in Poznan with candidates taking part in the European Parliament elections. As part of the debate organized by Otwarte Klatki and Koalicja Społeczna STOP FERMOM Przemysłowym, representatives of the main political forces had the opportunity to present their own visions of animal protection policy at national and EU level. An important topic of the event was the animal welfare pledge, Vote for Animals 2019, prepared jointly by Otwarte Klatki and Eurogroup for Animals.
The meeting, organized a few days before the European Parliament elections, proved that the subject of animal rights is particularly important for voters. Despite the unfavorable weather, several dozen people came to the event to listen to the candidates and ask questions.
In the first part of the meeting, guests had the opportunity to listen to speeches of Paweł Rawicki from Otwarte Klatki and Iwona Mertin from Eurogroup for Animals. Next, Dr Sylwia Spurek (Robert Biedron’s Wiosna), Dr Miłosława Stępień (Zieloni / Koalicja Europejska) and Dorota Koszal (Lewica Razem) participated in a debate led by Prof. Hanna Mamzer (UAM).
Unfortunately, despite invitations, the candidates from the Kukiz’15 and Prawo i Sprawiedliwość committees’ lists failed to confirm their presence at the meeting, although the PiS MEPs were active, including in the Animal Welfare Intergroup at the European Parliament.
The candidates’ talks concerned the protection of wild, farm and companion animals. The participants presented their views and comments on, among others, the clash between tradition and customs and animal protection, economic issues, the functioning of non-governmental organizations and hunting policy.
Miłosława Stępień drew attention to the harmfulness of industrial farming. “We have a very serious problem with how animals are raised in industry. It has an impact on climate, health, but also on animals,” she said. “We have to move away from mass breeding because it is harmful to the environment, to people, because we eat badly, and above all, such systems cause huge suffering to animals that live short lives in great agony.”
Dorota Koszal criticized the absence of representatives of other parties. “I regret that there are no representatives of Prawo i Sprawiedliwość and Kukiz’15 committees in this debate. This shows that they do not take the subject of animal rights seriously enough. I particularly regret the lack of a PiS candidate, because the draft amendment to the law on the protection of animals by PiS, which was submitted to Sejm last year, gave hope for positive changes in the subject of animal welfare,” she stated. “It assumed, among others a ban on breeding animals for fur, a ban on slaughter without stunning and a ban on keeping dogs tethered. All these major changes were withdrawn by PiS in the self-amendment. I was hoping to talk to PiS representative today why it happened and whether they were going to live up to their promises.”
Sylwia Spurek noed a definite advantage of female candidates speaking on the topic of animal protection. “Today’s debate showed that on the electoral lists there are people – many of them women – for whom animal rights are very important,” she said. “I am very happy about that. If voters want to vote for the one for whom animal rights are as important as human rights, then let them vote for Wiosna.”
Throughout the event, signatures for the European Citizens’ Initiative “End the Cage Age” were collected. At the end of the debate, the participants received a gift – the book “Clean Meat” by Paul Shapiro, which describes the future of meat production without the need to breed animals.
Visit here to check which Polish candidates MEPs have signed the pledge for the welfare of European animals in the European Union.