Photo: Rikki’s Refuge
According to Politico, the European Commission is poised to establish a new animal welfare unit this March as part of a restructuring of its department on Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE).
Eurogroup for Animals welcomes the news, which comes as DG SANTE embarks on a reorganisation so that it can lead on the Commission’s Farm-to-Fork Strategy, which is the agricultural and food policy component of the new von der Leyen Commission’s European Green Deal.
Such a unit existed previously, but was merged with a much larger team dealing with animal health under the previous Juncker Commission.
“This is welcome news indeed, and bodes well for a prominent role for animal welfare actions within the Commission’s Farm-to-Fork Strategy. After all, animal welfare must be an integral component of any transition to a sustainable form of agriculture,” said Reineke Hameleers, Director at Eurogroup for Animals. “Citizens, MEPs and Member States have all now called for stronger animal welfare provisions at EU level, and Eurogroup for Animals wholeheartedly commends the von der Leyen Commission for this development.”
Since they took office six weeks ago, we have heard several encouraging statements on animal welfare, and now we are seeing the first signs of action.
“Of course, what any unit is tasked with doing is even more important than its creation. The list of actions that it could be tasked with is very long indeed, and it will need to be adequately resourced too,” added Reineke Hameleers. “Only when we know this will we be able to sufficiently judge whether this development amounts to one small step from the Commission, or one giant leap for animal welfare.”