WAV Comment – Are we ever going to see the scales fall from the eyes of the European Commission ?
As welfare people, activists and campaigners, we have been showing and asking for the ‘bloody obvious changes’ by the Commission for decades; and in the vast majority of instances, our requests have been ignored.
Now we have yet another Commission report; something which they are very good at producing, but not usually following up on (regarding actions), which has involved over 60,000 responses and has reached the conclusion that ‘ a clear majority agreed that a revision of the current acquis is needed, that species are not protected equally, that more information is needed as well as better and easier enforcement
Live animal transport has always really been my ‘main thing’ – you can read more about it at https://serbiananimalsvoice.com/about-us/ – there is a lot here about investigation work and the efforts made to stop the live animal transport business.
I have witnessed the ‘dark side’ of live animal transport for decades: I did a lot of work re horses being exported for meat. From around 2004: To this day, Mark will never forget what was witnessed in the investigations into beautiful, live horses being exported from the UK to Europe as a scam for the meat trade under the guise of ‘riding horses’. This, combined with live farm animal export work over the last 27 years or so has meant that the export of live farm animals is a top ‘hate’ and will always be campaigned against – be it in the UK, Europe, Australia, South America, North Africa, Anywhere ! – nobody needs to tell me how bloody useless the EU Commission is.
Things have not changed all these years later; and (Mark says) “in my mind I can still be there; watching, hearing, smelling what is in my opinion, just one of the biggest issues of animal abuse on the planet – anything to with the LIVE EXPORT trade”. Despite the bad times, it only strengthens your resolve to work harder and put this business of utter cruelty into the history books where it belongs.
I (personally) do not hold out much hope for improvements by the non elected Commission; despite the wishes of the (EU) citizens, the endless evidence of abuses and non compliances provided by welfare groups – hopefully, and I wish for it more than just about anything, as I have for decades, the the scales of the abuses will fall from the eyes of the Commission masters who sit in their EU Ivory towers; promoting their own and nothing else much. Whatever, the fight goes on.
In 2012, Mark formally wrote to the EU Legal team regarding investigations by Dutch colleagues into the treatment of British calves exported from the UK to other EU nations such as Hungary. Calves that were still being crated many years after the EU formally banned crating.
31 March 2022
The European Commission has published their summary report of the contributions made by citizens, industry, public authorities and civil society organisations to the consultation on the future of animal welfare law in Europe, with the results showing a widespread desire for radical improvement, a desire for more information, and a furthering of protection to more species.
In October last year, the European Commission opened a landmark public consultation, asking citizens, farmers, businesses, Member State authorities and NGOs for their views and experiences on the fitness of the current rules relating to the welfare of animals in the EU, and to seek views on how they could be improved.
Nearly six months later, and with just under 60,000 responses in, we have the results, courtesy of the summary report (at bottom of page), which show:
A clear majority agreed that a revision of the current acquis is needed, that species are not protected equally, that more information is needed as well as better and easier enforcement
Majority support for the inclusion of more species within the scope of the legislation
Overwhelming support for a cage-free Europe
A clear desire to see the end of waterbath stunning, the killing of day-old chicks and for new specific rules for the killing of farmed fish
An overriding wish from citizens to see max journey times for animals who are transported, a ban on live exports to third countries, and ban on the transport of unweaned calves
Massive support for an animal welfare label which also includes information on if or how animals have been transported and slaughtered, respectively.
It is these results that will now form the basis of the impact assessments that the Commission will draft for the new legislative proposals that will be adopted, most likely as a package, in the winter of 2023.
These results are very welcome, of course, but are no great surprise. “The organisations we represent day in, day out, have felt the weight of citizens’ expectations for change – for improvement – for years. I am only pleased that we now have clear signals that cannot be ignored. Vox populi, vox dei.
That the response rate was one of the highest ever seen by the Commission speaks volumes. We now expect the European Commission to quench the thirst for systemic change that flows through these results. The time for ambition is now.
Whilst we expect proposals containing a swift phase out of caged systems, following the stunning success of the End the Cage Age European Citizens’ Initiative, we now expect a similar level of intent when it comes to ending live exports from the Union, to ending routine castration for pigs, waterbath stunning, the killing of day old chicks, and new powers to afford proper legal protection to the billions of other animals in Europe who deserve better, whether they be cattle, fish, poultry or pets. The citizens have spoken. Now it is time to honour their wishes.
Reineke Hameleers, Chief Executive of Eurogroup for Animals
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