"The EU spends €150 million a year on animal welfare, and yet it's clear that we still have a real problem with non-enforcement of animal welfare legislation.
"We've seen farmers in Western Europe converting to the new, correct cages and subsequently selling their battery cages to farmers in Eastern Europe; we've seen blatant violations of the animal transport directive in many regions of Europe, with drivers actually making their journeys longer to avoid countries with strict inspection regimes; we've seen long transition periods counting for nothing. This is especially galling for farmers who have invested to convert, and see strict enforcement by the Commission and the Court of Auditors of certain aspects of European law, like cross compliance, but a lack of enforcement when it comes to their competitors on animal welfare legislation. However, the strategy adopted today proposes to establish a better system at an EU wide level to check whether countries are on track to meet deadlines, as well as pushing for better labelling and improved animal transport conditions.
"I am also pleased to see a positive step for those farmers who are concerned about losing out to cheap and substandard imports from outside the European Union. The strategy today urges that animal welfare standards are included in trade agreements. Imported animals should be reared to equivalent standards as those within the EU.
"I was happy to see my group amendments on ensuring the independence of slaughterhouse inspection staff and maintaining the EU deadline for the testing on animals for cosmetics were also successful.
"Whilst animal welfare has greatly improved in the last ten years, there is a lot more to be done. The Parliament's plenary session next month will hopefully endorse this report so we can begin that work."
Enforcement Still The Issue For Animal Welfare
SNP MEP and member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Alyn Smith has today (Tuesday) welcomed the Paulsen Report on animal welfare as a good report, with strong messages on implementation of existing legislation, incorporating animal welfare into trade issues, establishing a Framework Law, providing farming method labelling, and many other issues.
Speaking after the vote in the Parliament's Agriculture Committee, Alyn said: