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EU breaks own treaty with farming & fisheries reforms

News Section Icon Published 08/05/2012

Last week Compassion wrote to the President of the Commission, highlighting the disregard of Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU). Compassion fears that the welfare of farm animals is being undermined.

Article 13

The Article requires the EU and its Member States, when formulating EU agriculture and fisheries policy, to "pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals". However, they have failed to do this in reforming both the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Peter Stevenson, Chief Policy Advisor at Compassion in World Farming says: "Scandalously, the EU is largely ignoring its own Treaty during current negotiations on reform of both the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy. The proposed new Policies give a very low priority to the welfare of animals and of farmed fish. Compassion is calling for an urgent rethink to ensure the new Policies are indeed in line with the EU Treaty."

The Common Fisheries Policy

In the case of fish, the reform of the CFP is encouraging a huge expansion of fish farming in the EU while paying little attention to the welfare problems of industrial fish farming. In Compassion's view, it is inconsistent with TFEU, Article 13 for the CFP to promote aquaculture without paying full regard to the welfare of farmed fish.

The Common Agricultural Policy

In the case of the CAP, the proposals published by the Commission are weaker on animal welfare than the current regulations in several important respects, and they do far too little to help livestock farmers adopt improved welfare standards.

The current proposal's lack of funds allocated to help farmers move to higher welfare systems means it is unlikely to do anything to encourage a switch to better systems. Compassion is calling on the EU to remodel its proposals to ensure that much more of the CAP budget is used to help farmers move away from factory farming.

The science bit

At present just 0.1% of the CAP budget is used to improve animal welfare. A new study by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency estimates that, if we want to have a sustainable livestock sector, including good standards of animal welfare, 5%-10% of the CAP budget should be used to support investments in improved animal housing and husbandry.

Disturbingly, a German study shows that CAP support to help pig farmers 'modernise' their farms is often leading to industrialisation and in 40% of cases to a deterioration in animal welfare. The CAP reform package must end this abuse of taxpayers' money.


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