Leaked influence evaluation exhibits ‘promising’ animal welfare laws – EURACTIV.com


Section-out of cages in farming, shortening journeys of dwell animals, ban on mutilations, and limiting stocking density are among the Fee’s most popular measures within the forthcoming animal welfare laws revision, a leaked influence evaluation exhibits.

The influence evaluation report, seen by EURACTIV, is the formal step forward of the revealing of a legislative initiative and illustrates the totally different coverage choices at disposal of the EU govt, in addition to testing its ambition.

Since 2009, the laws has solely gone by means of “minor, technical variations”, says the report, whereas acknowledging elevated residents’ consciousness of animal welfare and new scientific recommendation out there.

The draft influence evaluation evaluates the financial and social influence of implementing new coverage measures, with the goal of enhancing the situations “of the billions of animals that can be reared within the EU in 2038″.

The examine is split into 4 units of measures that influence animal welfare: Welfare of animals saved for financial functions, on the time of the killing, throughout transport, and animal welfare labelling.

The manager leans towards following suggestions from the European Meals Security Company (EFSA), whose latest scientific studies conclude that cage-free techniques are simplest when it comes to animal welfare.

This additionally follows the civil society’s issues mirrored within the European Residents’ Initiative (ECI) ‘Finish the Cage Age’ – which collected nearly 1.4 million signatures – and the European Parliament’s decision to section out the usage of cages in EU animal farming in 2021.

EU company backs cage-free farming for chickens

Using cages, the apply of mutilation and feed restriction ought to be prevented for the welfare of farmed broiler chickens and laying hens, in line with new scientific opinions from the European Meals Security Authority (EFSA).

The report exhibits that the Fee’s most popular choice is to section out cages for laying hens, pullets, calves, geese, geese and quails, broiler breeders and layer breeders – apart from pedigree birds till the Fee proposes different cage-free options for these in 10 years.

The identical measure additionally contains the phase-out of sow stalls and farrowing crates for pigs – used to immobilise a pig that gave beginning to keep away from crushing piglets – and a prohibition of the tethering of cows – a farming apply wherein cows are tied and restricted to sitting or standing.

On mutilations, the manager backs banning practices comparable to beak trimming of birds and tail docking of pigs, with a transition interval of 15 and 10 years respectively.

A ban on dehorning dairy cows and tail docking in canines can have a transition interval of 5 years. Disbudding calves with out anaesthesia or analgesia – eradicating the horn earlier than it attaches to the cranium – can even be banned inside 5 years.

By way of imports of animal merchandise, “equal animal welfare necessities […] would apply”, in line with the report.

It’s anticipated that probably the most affected buying and selling companions can be Brazil and Thailand within the case of poultry meat, and Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay within the case of beef.

Ukraine’s egg and egg merchandise sector will as nicely be affected because of new necessities. Nevertheless, “since Ukraine has utilized for accession to the EU, it dedicated to aligning with the EU acquis independently of this measure”, says the report.

Animal transport because the ‘key element’

The transport of dwell animals, which has been addressed by EFSA and most just lately by the European Court docket of Auditors (ECA), was a “key element” of the laws, in line with the Fee.

Each ECA and EFSA studies highlighted the constructive impacts of transporting dwell animals in shorter journeys – beneath eight hours.

As well as, some stakeholders and member states – comparable to Germany – have been calling for an EU-wide ban on dwell animal export to 3rd international locations.

The report assessed {that a} ban on the export of dwell small and huge ruminants, comparable to cattle, sheep and goats, “would vastly enhance animal welfare”, although it will have “essential damaging financial impacts on your complete EU economic system”.

“An alternate choice could be to permit the exports to proceed, however beneath stricter situations than at this time,” says the report.

The proposals to enhance these situations might embody journeys of 9 hours most for animals transported for slaughter and a most journey time of 21 hours – and 24 hours of relaxation – for animals transported for different causes.

Transport journeys can even be linked to climate forecasts, with a most of eight-hour journeys between 25°C and 30°C and solely transport at night time if the climate forecast is greater than 30°C.

‘Voluntary’ animal welfare labelling

Animal welfare labelling is supposed to raised inform shoppers concerning the situations of farmed animals.

Nevertheless, EU-harmonised guidelines on animal welfare labelling don’t exist for many animal merchandise – solely to desk eggs – and nationwide labelling schemes have been put in place in numerous member states, inflicting distortions available in the market and confusion amongst shoppers.

The manager’s report assessed the influence of a compulsory animal welfare labelling system and located a obligatory multi-tier EU animal welfare label “could be simplest in informing all shoppers on all merchandise in the marketplace and would have the best potential for enhancing animal welfare requirements.”

Regardless of that, the manager’s report proposes a voluntary multi-tier animal welfare label quite than a compulsory one, “since a majority of stakeholders assist a voluntary [label]”.

Ban on fur farming pending

Apparently, the report concludes that no most popular choice has been chosen as regards fur farming, “pending political determination.” 

Nevertheless, the examine recognises {that a} ban on fur farming “could be the simpler choice from an animal welfare perspective, in comparison with the choice of building new primary necessities” based mostly on future EFSA assessments.

A ban on fur farming has additionally been supported by over 1.7 million residents beneath the ECI “Fur Free Europe” in March 2023. Although the signatures haven’t but been validated by member states, the Fee foresees that the initiative is probably going to achieve success.

“The ban would keep away from the welfare points encountered of the 8.8 million animals nonetheless raised for fur manufacturing throughout 12 Member States,” says the report, whereas additionally observing that except a ban on fur-farmed merchandise within the EU market can also be in place, the prohibition of solely fur farming within the EU might result in elevated imports from third international locations.

[Edited by Gerardo Fortuna/Nathalie Weatherald]

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