The European institutions have changed following the European Parliament elections, the change in the College of Commissioners and the European Council President and it is vital that the Latvian Presidency does not lose sight of the importance of protecting animal welfare and ensuring that the highest standards are maintained throughout their Presidency.
The key priorities that Eurogroup for Animals urges the Latvian Presidency to support are as follows:
- Revision of the EU strategy on Endocrine Disruptors: Prioritise the use of alternatives to animal testing when assessing endocrine disruptors.
- Novel food and nanotechnologies: Promote the development and use of non-animal methods when testing the safety of food produced using nanotechnologies.
- Cloning of animals for food: Support a full ban on animal cloning for food and on imports of animal clones, descendants, semen and embryos, as well as food from animal clones and descendants.
- Sustainable food policy: Support the improvement of farm animal welfare as an objective of the EU sustainable food policy.
- Revision of the Regulation on organic production and labelling: Ensure that the following elements are included in the revision of the organic policy: higher animal welfare standards, the improved definition and harmonisation of minimum welfare standards and that the regulation considers scientific advice on the subject of animal welfare, as supported by relevant EFSA opinions.
- Feed and food controls: (Revision of Regulation 882/2004): Support the importance of animal welfare and ensure it is included in the future text.
- Transport of Live Animals: Re-launch the Working Group on this subject.
- Slaughter: Stop the use of the derogation which allows the export of meat to religious consumers outside of the EU
- Piglet castration: Ensure that a maximum number of Member States attend the workshop on piglet castration to be held on 26 February 2015
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES): Start preparing the EU position for the next Conference of the Parties ensuring full coherence with the EU's Biodiversity Strategy 2020.
- ZOOs: Promote the uptake of the EU Zoo Guidance and Good Practices document in all Member States
- Invasive Alien Species (IAS): Develop a comprehensive and explanatory list of IAS that will motivate implementation and enforcement at Member State level.
- Habitats and Wild Birds Directives: Ensure that current levels of habitat and wildlife protection and conservation will not be watered down and that texts will not be compromised in case of a merge of directives.
- Fur Farming: Ensure that fur producing animals are not protected under the Animal Welfare Framework Law, and that country by country bans on fur farming are promoted.
- Bilateral trade agreements: Use bilateral trade negotiations to promote animal protection by calling for equivalence with EU animal welfare standards for farm animals, exchange of expertise and capacity building, and by including wildlife protection in Sustainable Development chapters.
- Support the second conference on the welfare of cats and dogs in the EU: The Commission are scheduled to hold the second conference on the welfare of cats and dogs in February or March. This should be supported by the Council.
- Support the first conference on equine welfare in the EU: Eurogroup for Animals is working with its Member Organisations and the European Commission, on a research project which will outline selected key welfare issues affecting equines across Europe. This is due to be launched in 2015 at the first EU-level equine welfare conference.
- Animal Health: Support measures which fully take animal welfare into account and consider all categories of animals especially we call for the support of mandatory registration of breeders and sellers with national authorities.
“The Presidency has a central role to play in ensuring that animals are fully considered as sentient beings and that their welfare is taken into account when elaborating EU policies. We hope that the Latvian Presidency will take its responsibility seriously as a number of important policies will be decided during their term,” said Reineke Hameleers, Director at Eurogroup for Animals.
“We believe that the one welfare concept: where animal welfare, social development, economic growth and environmental protection are seen as being interrelated and recognized as mutually reinforcing components of sustainable development, should be endorsed. It is hard to expect a farmer who has no chance of making a living to invest in enrichment of stables to improve animal welfare, the two must be sustainable. Likewise if we want to replace animal testing by alternatives we should invest in better safety testing from which human patients and laboratory mice will benefit equally. This one welfare approach is the way forward and we can no longer compartmentalise our actions and activities and we urge the Latvian Presidency to endorse this approach,” she concluded.