Brussels, 06 Oct 2006
In an own-initiative report by Elizabeth Jeggle (EPP-ED, DE), the Agriculture Committee welcomes the proposed Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2006 - 2010. The committee argues that "the protection of animals is an expression of humanity in the 21st century and a challenge facing European civilisation and culture".
It therefore supports the Commission's plans and points to the greater emphasis already placed on animal protection under the EU's Common Agricultural Policy.
Recalling the animal health problems of recent years, such as BSE, MEPs emphasise that "animal protection and animal health impact closely on each other." They therefore call on the Commission to "take greater account of animal protection aspects in the fight against animal diseases."
However, MEPs recognise that higher standards may come at a cost. They argue that, when introducing higher animal protection welfare standards, the situation of individual EU regions should be taken into account. And they are keen for "measures to improve animal welfare to be seen from the standpoint of their socio-economic effects", especially on farmers.
The Agriculture Committee also urges the Commission to push at international level, "notably at the WTO and the OIE" (the world organisation for animal health), for a single legislative standard for animal protection rules.
Labelling the key
Public opinion is a key issue. MEPs believe "consumers should be informed and prepared to pay higher prices for products originating from farms with higher animal welfare standards and that these products should be appropriately labelled".
They support the development of an "EU label" as well as voluntary private labels that would guarantee even higher standards of animal protection and which could spread animal welfare standards around the world. They even suggest "imposing levies on products which do not meet EU standards" of animal welfare, to avoid "animal protection dumping".
Lastly, the Agriculture Committee "calls upon the European Community to bring an end to dog, bull and cock fighting".
Elisabeth JEGGLE (EPP-ED, DE)
Procedure: own-initiative Debate: 11.10.2006