Austrian livestock farmers must replace stable floors sooner

Austrian pig farmers may not postpone the conversion of their stables until the year 2040, as previously decided. The Constitutional Court has reversed the coalition government's compromise.

The Court finds the transition period of 17 years for the ban on slatted floors to be too long and cannot be objectively justified.

The Constitutional Court has not prescribed a new date; Animal Protection Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) now sets a deadline of July 2030, with a transition phase from July 2025.

In addition, origin labeling should be introduced in the Austrian catering industry so that consumers can consciously choose Austrian meat, according to the Austrian coalition of the conservative ÖVP and the Greens. Rauch urged an agreement to be reached quickly. 

There are 20,000 pig farms in Austria, two-thirds of which are fattening pig farms, which are now affected. The Austrian agricultural organizations are going to war against this.

The Court's decision has led to divided reactions. Animal rights activists welcome the shortening of the transition period. They insist on rapid amendment of the legislation. They also argue for higher subsidies to enable pig farmers to quickly switch to more animal-friendly housing systems.

Reactions in Austrian politics are also divided. While the Greens see the Court's ruling as a victory for animal protection, representatives of other parties, such as the SPÖ, emphasize the need for a balanced approach. 

Pig farmers and the Ministry of Agriculture also express their concerns. They emphasize that such an abrupt change could have serious consequences for the sector. The Association of Austrian Pig Farmers (VÖS) doubts whether the proposed measures are feasible and warns of possible negative effects on Austrian meat production.

Agriculture Minister Norbert Totschnig (ÖVP) emphasized that the supply of local food, animal welfare and the survival of farms must be guaranteed: “We must not endanger our Austrian schnitzel and become dependent on imports from abroad.”