France: Video surveillance in slaughterhouses


85% of French are in favor of the cameras in slaughterhouses, according to a poll for the Brigitte Bardot Foundation and Animal Rights Association that has been released on Monday. This measures are intended to reduce animal suffering.

Please proceed to the full article (in French) in here.

You can have an access to the press release as well as the full report.

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Gaia wants animal rights written into constitution

Belgium’s animal rights organisation is following in the footsteps of its European neighbours and asking that a number of freedoms for animals be written into Belgium’s constitution.

Gaia pointed out that animals form a very vulnerable category of living creatures with certain welfare needs. “The respect for their dignity and guaranteeing their welfare should be included in the constitution as a fundamental duty of the state,” it said in a statement.

Gaia was inspired by initiatives in neighbouring countries Germany and Luxembourg, where animal rights were included in the constitution in 2002 and 2007, respectively. “So this should not be an insurmountable problem in Belgium either,” said Gaia president Michel Vandenbosch.

Full article and a petition to sign are available in here.

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EU agriculture ministers discuss harmonisation between animal welfare standards and international investment policy

EU agriculture ministers discuss harmonisation between animal welfare standards and international investment policy : Humane Society International

The European Union’s Agriculture and Fisheries Council, composed of agriculture ministers from all 28 EU Member States, debated the issue of international finance institutions and animal welfare this week. The Austrian delegation’s request to make animal welfare standards a mandatory investment criterion for international financial institutions and to incorporate binding EU animal welfare standards in the IFIs' policies for investment capital grants received wide-spread support. 

International financial institutions where EU Member States are major shareholders continue to support agricultural companies outside the EU irrespective of whether or not these companies meet the EU’s own farm animal welfare standards. Furthermore, government backed export credit agencies are providing insurance to companies that are exporting abusive farm animal housing systems to third countries, such as barren battery cages, even though the use of such housing systems has been prohibited within the EU. 

Joanna Swabe, executive director for Humane Society International/Europe, applauded the Austrian government for raising this important issue in the Council. “We encourage Agriculture Ministers to take a strong stance against EU financial support being given to fund cruel and outdated animal housing systems elsewhere in the world. Humane Society International/Europe urges Member State governments to ensure that taxpayers money is no longer used through international finance institutions or export credit agencies to subsidise the extreme confinement of farm animals in production systems that the EU has long prohibited on the grounds of animal welfare. It is vital for governments to engage in more joined-up thinking to make sure that their international investment policy is consistent with the animal welfare policy that has been agreed and implemented throughout the entire Union.”

HSI/Europe has called on all Member States to:

  • Adhere to EU farm animal welfare standards when voting on financial support measures granted to agribusiness companies through international finance institutions,
  • Apply EU animal welfare standards when granting insurance through export credit agencies, and
  • Actively advocate for the adoption of binding animal welfare standards, which meet or exceed EU standards, by all relevant international finance institutions.

HSI has set up a website, hsi.org/finance, with in-depth information on international finance and animal welfare, as well as up-to-date lists and descriptions of animal agriculture projects being supported by international finance institutions.

Full article available in here.

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Motion for resolution on eliminating the practice of tail-docking of pigs


The European Parliament,
–  having regard to Rule 133 of its Rules of Procedure,
A.  whereas animal welfare associations have drawn attention to the practice of tail-docking in a number of pig farms, a practice which causes the animals a lot of pain since no anaesthetic is administered;
B.  whereas 25 million pigs are reared every year in France alone, primarily for their meat;
C.  whereas 95 % of pigs are kept in cramped and overcrowded buildings, on slatted floors or in confined conditions, and are not given proper space to lead a natural life;
D.  whereas these practices must, therefore, be abolished as a matter of urgency, especially given the existence of alternatives;
1.  Calls on the Commission to initiate a debate on how best to integrate the elimination of tail-docking of pigs into national animal welfare strategies.
 

Full document available in here.

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Animal welfare deserves better from investment policy

International finance institutions and member state export credit agencies continue to invest in projects outside the EU involving cruel farm animal confinement systems banned in the EU. Better joined-up thinking is needed with regard to investment policy and animal welfare, writes Joanna Swabe.


Dr Joanna Swabe is executive director for Humane Society International/Europe.

 
Over the past couple of decades, the European Union has adopted and implemented legislation that has eliminated the most extreme confinement systems for farm animals, such as barren battery cages for laying hens, cages for broiler chickens and individual sow stalls for pigs.


The European Commission asserts that animal welfare is a priority for the EU. Indeed, the majority of EU citizens across all member states share this view of the importance of animal welfare, as the results of a recent Eurobarometer has revealed. Yet something seems to be getting lost in translation when it comes to safeguarding animal welfare through EU and member state investment policy.

Full article available in here.
 

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Commission calls on GREECE to tackle the illegal poisoning of birds

The European Commission is requesting Greece to establish a general system of protection for wild birds, prohibiting, in particular, their deliberate killing through poison baits. The use of poison baits is widespread in Greece, and no serious action has been taken so far, contrary to what is required under the Birds (Directive 2009/147/EC) and Habitats (Council Directive 92/43/EEC) Directives. In the Natura 2000 site of Nestos river, for example, the use of this illegal practice in 2012 led to the destruction of an entire vulture species colony, but the Greek authorities have so far done little to prevent such incidents from happening again. The Commission opened an infringement procedure against Greece in September 2013, urging the Greek authorities to better control this phenomenon in the entire country and to adopt the necessary measures to restore the damages that have occurred in Nestos in 2012. As the measures to ensure full compliance with EU law have not yet been taken, the Commission is sending a reasoned opinion. If the Greek authorities fail to act within two months, the case may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.

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Commission refers the United Kingdom to the Court over its failure to protect marine species

UK in Court over failure to protect harbour porpoise in UK waters.

The European Commission is taking the United Kingdom to the Court of Justice of the EU for its failure to propose sites for the protection of the harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), a marine mammal regularly found in UK waters.

EU legislation on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (the Habitats Directive, Council Directive 92/43/EEC) requires Member States to propose a list of sites for a number of species and habitat types, ensuring their protection from threats which could seriously harm them and to maintain and restore them in a favourable status in the whole of the EU by taking the conservation measures needed.

Due to the unfavourable status of the harbour porpoises in the EU, 13 Member States, other than the UK, have designated sites for its protection in about 200 Natura 2000 sites. The UK has so far formally proposed only one small site in Northern Ireland (the Skerries and Causeway Special Area of Conservation) and one site in Scotland (the Inner Hebrides and Minches Special Area of Conservation).

As the UK has an extensive marine area, it has a particular responsibility for the protection of this species. The Commission has repeatedly urged the British authorities to fulfil their key obligations for the conservation of the species, as other Member States have done already.

Today's action follows a letter of formal notice sent to the UK government in June 2013 and a reasoned opinion sent in October 2014. While the UK has recently conducted a public consultation on a number of potential sites in English and Welsh waters and this month formally proposed one site in Scottish waters, more needs to be done. The continued failure to propose and designate sufficient sites leaves the areas where the species occurs in greatest densities without the protection required. This refers in particular to the requirement to carry out adequate assessments of potentially damaging developments or activities, such as from offshore wind farm construction, oil and gas exploration and fishing.

Read the full press release in here.

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IFAH – World Rabies Day: Disease knows no borders

On the 10th annual World Rabies Day, IFAH-Europe joins forces with the Global Alliance for Rabies Control to raise awareness on the need for continued rabies vaccination obligations in the EU and support for global eradication projects.

For many diseases such as rabies that threaten both animal and human health (zoonoses), animal medicine solutions already exist. In many cases also, the most effective and economically viable solution for protecting public health is via prevention of the disease in the animal. Despite this fact rabies remains endemic in Africa, Asia and parts of Latin America and is responsible for around 60,000 deaths per year.
 

Read the full article in here.

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FVE calls to end suffering of animals at long distance transport

The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) is concerned about serious animal welfare issues related to the long-distance transport and export of livestock. With reference to its long-standing position on the welfare of animals during transportii, FVE emphasizes the urgent need to really implement and to respect agreed standards for the welfare of animals during transport.

For a number of reasons waiting periods for trucks arriving at the Bulgarian-Turkish border can become very long. This cannot go on and action is urgently needed.

Animals should be reared as close as possible to the premises on which they are born and slaughtered as close as possible to the point of production.


Read the full position paper in here.

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