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CJEU: Use of Organic production logo of the EU

Such a practice fails to observe the highest animal welfare standards

In 2012, the French association Œuvre d’assistance aux bêtes d’abattoirs (‘OABA’) submitted to the Ministre de l’Agriculture et de l’Alimentation (French Minister for Agriculture and Food) a request for a ban on the use of the ‘organic farming’ indication in the adverts for and on the packaging of minced beef patties certified ‘halal’ from animals slaughtered without pre-stunning.

The certification body concerned, Ecocert, implicitly refused OABA’s request, and the first instance court with jurisdiction subsequently dismissed the application brought before it by OABA.

The Cour administrative d’appel de Versailles (Administrative Court of Appeal, Versailles, France), hearing the appeal, asks the Court whether the applicable rules of EU law deriving from, inter alia, the Regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products,1 its Implementing Regulation2 and the Regulation on the protection of animals at the time of killing 3 must be interpreted as permitting or prohibiting approval of the ‘use of the European “organic farming” label’ in relation to products derived from animals which have been slaughtered in accordance with religious rites without first being stunned.

The Court finds that the EU legislature declares on several occasions in the legislation at issue its desire to observe a high level of animal welfare in the context of that production method, which is consequently characterised by the observance of enhanced standards with regard to animal welfare in all locations and at all stages of production where it is possible further to improve that welfare, including during slaughter. 

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