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The new Commission must mark a new chapter for animals

Photo © Patrick Seeger/EPA

As the von der Leyen Commission begins its first working week in office, Eurogroup for Animals looks forward to the new term ahead and to working with several of the new Commissioners to give animals across our Union a good life.

Despite the many surveys and questionnaires that have demonstrated that European citizens see animal welfare as a priority for the future of Europe, it has been left by the wayside ever since the key principle of animal sentience was recognised by the Lisbon Treaty’s reforms in 2009. Animals have fallen victim to the EC’s efforts to reduce legislative efforts, despite the clear need and wish from citizens to see advancements in terms of better and new legislation. The Transport Regulation, for example, has suffered a widespread lack of enforcement within the EU; in fact, long-distance live transport for certain species has actually been increasing, including for particularly vulnerable animals such as unweaned calves.

However, thanks to encouraging comments from several of the new Commissioners, expectations are now high that existing standards can be raised, enforcement will be improved, and that species hitherto ignored can now be protected. In particular, we hope that for farmed animals, which involves an enormous number of animals and is governed by major economic interests, and which has proven to be the most difficult area in which to obtain lasting change, we will finally begin to see the improved and new legislation that is so long overdue.

“We hope that today marks a new chapter for animal protection at EU level. Animal welfare is a core value of European civilisation, and citizens’ calls are clear – the new Commission must act for animals,” Reineke Hameleers, Director of Eurogroup for Animals, commented today. “We are very encouraged by several comments and interactions we have had with the new College of Commissioners so far. With broad support for new initiatives from MEPs and Member States alike, we are confident that the new Commission has the political will and support it needs to make lasting improvements.

“We now look forward to constructively engaging with many of the new Commissioners to deliver real improvements to the lives of animals – from animals that are traded, to those on farms, those used in science, to those in our homes and in the wild. We look forward to the months and years ahead with confidence.”

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