"Useful" Animal Welfare Report Passed By Parliament

SNP MEP and Honorary Vice President of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) Alyn Smith has today (Wednesday) welcomed the successful passage of the Paulsen Report on Animal Welfare through the full Parliament plenary in Strasbourg.

This report, now the position of the Parliament, was drafted in response to the European Commission's publication of the EU Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012–2015 in January this year. 

Speaking after the vote in Strasbourg, Alyn said:

"Congratulations to Ms Paulsen for steering this useful report through the Parliament. There is a great deal in it to be welcomed.

"Importantly, I am pleased to see that a sensible line has been taken on animal transport, and that non-enforcement of rules is highlighted as the main problem. This is not just for animal transport regs, but also battery cages for laying hens, and we will likely see the same problem with the phase out of sow stalls at the end of this year, despite massive transition periods. However, the strategy adopted today proposes to establish a better system at EU wide level to check whether countries are on track to meet deadlines which will hopefully go some way to rectify this.

"It is right, too, that the issue of a maximum limit on animal transport times is kept out of this report and instead dealt with solely in the Wojciechowski Report currently being discussed in the Agriculture Committee, which is specifically on animal transport.

"A positive step for our farmers who are losing out to cheap and substandard imports from outside the EU was the inclusion of the paragraph calling for animal welfare standards to be included in trade agreements. Imported animals should certainly be reared to equivalent standards as those within the EU, though I would like this to go further and to see a push for the same standards to be met, not equivalent.

"MEPs also supported our group's proposals for animal welfare labelling schemes for meat and dairy products. This would help to better inform consumers on the farming methods used and impact on animal welfare and ensure they can make a choice for better animal welfare with the food products they buy.

"Whilst animal welfare has greatly improved in the last ten years, there is a lot more to be done, but this report shows that we are moving in the right direction."