Photo credits: Andrew Skowron/Otwarte Klatki
The European Commission’s formal reaction to the petition “End Pig Pain”, which asks to phase out tail docking, tooth clipping and castration, is a blow for pigs all over Europe, where these painful and unnecessary practices are still taking place as a matter of course in many countries.
Commissioner Andriukaitis’ response to the petition of more than 1 million citizens’ signatures, which was delivered in November 2018, recognises the severity of the situation but gives no concrete answer to supporters’ pleas.
Eurogroup for Animals’ 2017 flagship campaign End Pig Pain called on the European Commission and national agricultural ministers to enforce the ban on routine tail docking and tooth clipping of pigs, to put an end to painful piglet castration, and provide better rearing conditions for pigs. Every year millions of male piglets are castrated in the EU to avoid the risk of boar taint, and unnecessary routine tail docking and tooth clipping of piglets continues to happen in many EU member states in violation of existing EU laws.
The campaign’s goal to collect 1 million signatures from EU citizens was reached in autumn 2018, but the EC’s response, received this week, says only that it believes that actions such as the establishment of the EU Platform on Animal Welfare – which brings together Member States and stakeholders from different backgrounds to enhance dialogue on animal welfare issues – will ‘enable the pig sector to gradually reduce the number of tail-docked pigs over time’.
The petition also asked for a specific date for phasing out piglet castration, but this issue isn’t even mentioned in the response.
“For now it seems that the Commission still doesn’t envisage decisive action against Member States that are blatantly ignoring EU legislation,” says Reineke Hameleers, Director of Eurogroup for Animals. “The battle to obtain enforcement of an animal welfare provision that has supposedly been in force for 25 years goes on.”
Dr Elena Nalon, Veterinary Adviser, Eurogroup for Animals
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