Brussels, 12 Oct 2006
Parliament adopted a report by a large majority - 565 votes in favour to 29 against and 15 abstentions - calling for stricter animal welfare rules in the EU. The report calls on the Commission to submit plans for animal protection labelling, to urge the strengthening of animal protection in WTO negotiations, and to ban seal and 'cruelty products' imports into the Union.
The report also calls on the EU to bring an end to dog and cock fighting, although a similar plea to end bull fighting was rejected by MEPs during the vote.
The own-initiative report by Elisabeth JEGGLE (EPP-ED, DE) on a Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals points out that "animal protection and animal health impact closely on each other." It therefore calls on the Commission to "take greater account of animal protection aspects in the fight against animal diseases." MEPs also noted that "in practice, EU rules on the transport of animals [...] are frequently disregarded." In order to strengthen incentives for better treatment of animals, the report supports the development of "animal protection labelling" as well as voluntary private labels that would guarantee even higher standards of animal protection.
However, the House also considered that new rules and labelling requirements could "lead to a decline in the competitiveness of Community production," and to "animal protection dumping" by third countries. For this reason, the report "urges the strengthening of animal protection within the framework of the WTO" to raise animal welfare standards all over the world..
Members also expressed their regret that "the focus of European policy on animal welfare has so far been almost exclusively on the welfare and protection of farm animals." Therefore, the report also suggests widening the scope of EU legislation on animal testing, calls on the Commission to make permanent the ban on EU imports of wild birds, and to also ban seal and 'cruelty products' imports.
Finally, the EP called upon the EU to "bring an end to dog and cock fighting, through national or community legislation as appropriate, and by ensuring that those involved receive no state or national subsidy relating to their activities." The House voted against extending this passage to bull fighting, as well (178-412-15).
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The protection and welfare of animals 2006-2010
( A6-0290/2006 - Rapporteur: Elisabeth Jeggle)
European Parliament resolution on a Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2006-2010 (2006/2046(INI))