The European Parliament sends a signal of confidence to European livestock farmers when it comes to the enforcement of on-farm animal welfare

Copa and Cogeca welcome yesterday's adoption in the EU Parliament's plenary of the AGRI Implementation Report on on-farm welfare. The limited number of amendments made to the text approved in COM AGRI in October 2021 shows the good balance found by the rapporteur MEP Jérémy Decerle. The clear rejection of a counterproposal yesterday and the 72% majority achieved today, shows that the European Parliament has confidence in the ability of its farmers to put in place the most advanced animal welfare legislation worldwide. Despite the regular livestock-bashing at EU level, we are pleased to see that the European Parliament recognises this fact and is encouraging livestock farmers to pursue their efforts.  

 

Today the question of animal welfare is at the centre of many farmers and cooperatives thoughts, so it is essential that the EU offers coherency and support at various levels to support farm initiatives. It is this demand for overall coherency that we welcome in the report voted today. A coherency on the implementation of the existing and future rules of animal welfare across all Member States that should maintain the level playing field in the EU's Single Market. A coherency with the EU trade policy. EU farmers can do their utmost to increase animal welfare standards, but it would be understandable if these efforts turn into a competitive advantage for the EU's trading partners applying lower standards than we do. Finally, a coherency vis à vis science. The issue of animal welfare is complex and evolving, we agree that it is essential that decisions on this matter are based on solid scientific evidence, including impact assessments.   

 

In addition, reflecting on this vote and the proposed amendments, it is necessary to underline that as enshrined in the TFEU and underpinned by rules of free market, every farmer should be able to sell their animals across the EU with freedom of choice. Besides, the same TFEU gives every production method that farmers may have access to the right to exist, always in compliance with the already high animal welfare standards applicable by law in the EU.  

 

Animal welfare also involves the welfare of farmers. Therefore, it is important that the EU doesn't forget that one of its essential missions is to support farmers in providing EU citizens and the global market with high quality, affordable and safe food, produced in a sustainable manner. Farmers and their cooperatives are fully aware that the consumers trust in the high value and quality of the European agricultural and food sector depends on maintaining high standards for animal health and welfare.   

 

Copa and Cogeca hope that the European Commission will consider the balance approach proposed by the European Parliament in its revision of animal welfare legislation under the framework of the Farm to Fork, taking a holistic, flexible and voluntary approach that may guarantee the competitiveness of farmers and their production with high animal welfare standards. 

 

 

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