Thursday, February 2, 2023
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Five EU countries want fewer cages and more animal welfare soon

Five countries (Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands) presented a common position to the European Commission for a new legal framework for animal welfare.

The Commission has recently started updating the current laws in this area. “Animal welfare is a major concern for many European citizens,” said Danish minister Rasmus Prehn recently during the presentation in the LNV Council of Ministers.

The Commission's survey and the position of the five EU countries is a response to the European citizens' initiative “End the Cage Age”, in which one and a half million EU citizens called for a cage ban.

The five EU countries propose to incorporate the new scientific knowledge and practical experience in the new EU laws. In addition, there should be rules for animals that were not included in detail in the referendum, such as pigs, laying hens or turkeys.

German minister Julia Klöckner called for a joint approach at European level to introduce “new and necessary measures”. In her country, too, there are political and social calls for more animal welfare.

Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski assured that the Commission will carefully study the proposals from the five countries and is already working on some of the proposed ideas. He also noted that in response to the public referendum, the Commission has already committed to phase out certain animal bans on cows.

Although the LNV ministers generally agreed that the animal welfare law should be updated, some took a more cautious stance. Hungarian Minister István Nagy warned that “drastic measures would not only seriously affect many livestock farmers, but would also have unpredictable consequences for basic food prices.

The French representative argued that any new animal welfare requirements should be complemented by equivalent requirements for imported products.


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