Strive to ensure that animal sentience and its implications is acknowledged in all relevant legislative proposals and policy initiatives that come before the Parliament
The Lisbon Treaty introduced the recognition in the Treaty on the Functioning of the Union that animals are sentient beings (Article 13 of Title II). This article should be mentioned in the citations of Parliamentary reports and documents on every legislative proposal and policy initiative relevant for animal welfare so that it can duly be taken into account.
Promote and support policy developments for the introduction of better animal welfare standards
Many initiatives are likely to see the light in this new legislative term that will either have the potential to advance or threaten animals’ interests. We invite MEPs to exploit the full range of Parliament initiatives at their disposal – own initiative reports, inquiries, parliamentary questions, exhibitions and conferences – to promote better animal welfare standards.
Urge the Commission to ensure efficient enforcement and implementation of animal welfare related legislation in all Member States
There are a range of EU legal standards for animal welfare scattered across many pieces of law, but compliance and enforcement too often fall short of expectations. Commission audits have for example found between 95 and 100% of pigs are tail docked in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Denmark and Germany, in direct contradiction of EU law. The Parliament has a power of scrutiny to ensure the Commission takes remedial action to address cases where law designed to protect animals is not being implemented.
Support the adoption of a general animal welfare framework law to provide a minimum level of protection to all animals while safeguarding the existing acquis
Current animal welfare related EU legislation is still limited in its scope. The introduction of an EU-Framework Law on animal welfare would have the objective to provide basic protection to all kept and abandoned animals, including stray animals of domesticated species thus reflecting the principle of animal sentience enshrined in Article 13 of the Treaty. The law should by all means not water down the current EU animal welfare acquis but provide clear rules facilitating better and more thorough levels of compliance with existing animal welfare related legislation.
In the case of a revision of the Treaties, support the inclusion of animal welfare as a shared competence
The EU institutions can only adopt laws that can benefit animal welfare on the basis of the Common Agricultural Policy, the smooth functioning of the internal market or the protection of human health with regards to transmissible animal diseases. Turning animal welfare into a shared competence would allow the Union institutions to make law on animal welfare per se, just as can be done within individual Member States. This reflects EU citizens’ expectations, as the majority of them believe some or most decisions on animal welfare should be taken at the EU level (Eurobarometer, 2016).
Call on the Commission to appoint a Commissioner on Animal Welfare
Animal welfare is a horizontal issue that touches upon a variety of European policies. Today, about a quarter of the Commission’s departments directly relate to the interests of animals. Putting animal welfare under a single Commissioner is a goal to ensure it receives a joined-up approach by the EU’s executive. This would send a strong message about any Commission’s commitment to improve the lives of animals.