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Improving animal welfare in the EU
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Published on 23-01-12  

Ways of further improving the protection and welfare of animals have been outlined in a four year strategy paper published by the Commission. The Communication analyses the past and makes a number of proposals on the future shape of animal welfare in the EU, setting down key actions expected to come into effect from 2012 – 2015.

    Improving animal welfare in the EU

    The strategy is based on two complimentary approaches: embracing a holistic approach to animal welfare by considering the establishment of a new EU legislative framework for animal welfare, whilst also seeking to reinforce existing EU actions in certain areas.

    "The recent coming into force of the "laying hens" legislation has shown that problems persist in animal welfare in several member states. Some efforts are being made, but many issues need to be tackled in a different way in order to achieve more sustainable results”, EU Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner John Dalli said.

    Some key actions:

    Improving information to consumers, retailers, food services and food processors on animal welfare through the development of a transparent tool for claims on animal welfare certification schemes;

    Commercial sectors dealing with animals, farmers in particular, will benefit because the strategy will provide them with tools to innovate and promote their actions on animal welfare better;

    The competitiveness of EU producers is one of the key objectives of the Commission's policy. There is no point in improving EU welfare standards if it has the effect of increasing imports from third countries with lower standards.  So for this reason, the paper emphasizes the importance of developing within the EU a flexible system of rules whilst simultaneously promoting EU values towards animals will be promoted abroad. 

    The welfare of certain species like farmed fish will also be investigated.

    What next?

    The communication will now be submitted to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee.

    An international conference will be held in Brussels on the strategy at the end of February this year.

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    Last update: 23/01/2012  |Top