Ahead of tonight's debate on a new EU animal welfare strategy for 2016-2020, GUE/NGL MEPs comment on the current approach and called on the European Commission for new legally-binding, species-specific legislation as well as real commitment to and adequate funding for animal protection and welfare.*

Dutch GUE/NGL MEP Anja Hazekamp states: “Article 13 of the Lisbon Treaty states that in formulating and implementing policies, the Union and the member states shall, since animals are sentient beings, pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals.

“But these words are of no value if, in practice, the European Commission hardly shows any commitment to improve animal welfare.

“There are many serious issues concerning animal welfare which should be addressed by the EU.  For example, the inhumane long animal transports that are still allowed, despite massive public disapproval and the disapproval of EFSA (European Food Safety Authority).”

Ms Hazekamp continues: “Another example is the lack of species-specific legislation for rabbits. Under current EU rules rabbits are crammed into cages, with less than an A4 paper space per rabbit. There are many, many more examples. The EU has to come forward with a clear plan to stop these and all other kinds of animal cruelty.”

German GUE/NGL MEP Stefan Eck comments: “In recent years, more and more people in Europe have shown their concern about the ethical treatment of animals. In theory, the surveillance of abuse, pain or maltreatment of animals is now higher on the EU agenda but, in reality, there is still a very long way to go. The lack of enforcement of the current EU Animal Welfare Strategy is flagrant.

“There are not enough controls and most of the existing ones are inappropriately undertaken. Unnecessary and extreme cruelty against animals still prevails in our streets, in animal shelters, laboratories, farms, slaughterhouses or during long-distance transport.”

MEP Eck concludes: “In the short term, I urge the Commission to put forward new legally-binding, species-tailor made laws to overcome present shortcomings and loopholes. I ask EU governments to ensure that enough financial resources will be allocated to the protection of animal welfare standards. In addition to that, I appeal to all the European citizens to increase public mobilisation in favour of real EU wide animal rights.”

* A request by GUE/NGL to wind up the debate with a resolution, to be voted on Thursday, was agreed by a majority of MEPs at the opening of this week's plenary session.


GUE/NGL Press Contact:

Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20

Nikki Sullings + 32 483 03 55 75

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