Welfare of dairy cows

30 May 2013    
E-006133-13
Martin Häusling (Verts/ALE) 

Paragraph 5 of Appendix B to the recommendation concerning cattle of the Standing Committee of the European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes states that ‘animals should be given the opportunity to go outside whenever possible and in summertime preferably every day’. The importance of this provision can be seen from the fact that EFSA has concluded that if dairy cows are not kept on pasture for parts of the year there is an increased risk of a range of serious health problems. Recommendations adopted under the Convention are part of EC law. Paragraph 5 uses ‘should’ rather than ‘shall’.

Nonetheless, the Community approved the Convention through Decision 78/923/EEC, and in so doing presumably intended, as a matter of good faith, to respect the recommendations made under the Convention even where they use ‘should’ rather than ‘shall’.

What steps is the Commission taking to encourage Member States and dairy producers to respect paragraph 5 of Appendix B to the recommendation concerning cattle of the Standing Committee of the Convention?

11 July 2013    
E-006133/2013
Answer given by Mr Borg on behalf of the Commission

The Commission checks how the general welfare requirements of the recommendation of the Council of Europe concerning cattle(1) are applied within Member States. For this purpose, the Food and Veterinary Office, audit service of the Commission's Health and Consumers Directorate General, already completed 3 on-the-spot inspections in 2012 and 3 more are planned for 2013. No other special measures are currently foreseen for dairy cows with regard to access to pasture.

(1)    http://www.coe.int/t/e/legal_affairs/legal_cooperation/biological_safety_and_use_of_animals/farming/Rec%20cattle%20E.asp#TopOfPage.

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