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Animal Welfare: achievements and challenges at the mid-point of the 2012-2015 strategy

The Commission will mark the mid-point of the EU Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012-2015 at a conference in Brussels today. The event will bring together key stakeholders to review the achievements of the strategy to date, and to identify remaining challenges. Government authorities, non-governmental organisations and those who work with animals every day will have the opportunity to discuss practical issues related to animal welfare and identify key areas for action to improve animal conditions for the strategy’s remaining term and beyond.

European Commissioner for Health, Tonio Borg, said: "Ensuring the welfare of animals is a key priority for the European Commission. The EU has been striving to improve the quality of life of animals for decades through laws, training initiatives and enforcement. I am delighted to discuss the future of the EU animal welfare strategy with a wide range of responsible and committed actors. Farmers, veterinarians, policy makers, transporters, public enforcement officers, retailers, researchers, educators and citizens – we are all responsible for ensuring the ethical treatment of animals in the EU.”

Animal welfare in the EU

Over the past four decades, EU animal welfare legislation has evolved on the basis of sound scientific knowledge. EU standards have improved the quality of animals' lives, in line with citizens' expectations and market needs. Already recognised as a global leader in the field of animal welfare, the European Commission continues to address animal welfare as a top priority.

To ensure that animal welfare legislation is enforced in a uniform way across the EU, the European Commission has since 2006 funded training initiatives and workshops both within and outside the EU.

Key achievements in animal welfare in the EU:

  • To date, more than 2 000 veterinarians have received training on animal welfare.

  •  An EU-wide ban on conventional cages for laying hens has improved the health and welfare of 360 million laying hens.

  •  12 million female pigs have a better quality of life thanks to rules on sow stalls.

  • Animal testing for cosmetics banned since 2009.

  • Improved transport conditions for animals .

  •  Animal welfare policies exported to other countries.

(For more information, see MEMO/13/98)

Animal welfare video

From farm to fork, everyone is responsible for animal welfare. Animal welfare laws are meaningless without the commitment of farmers, veterinarians, transporters, public enforcement officers, retailers, researchers, educators and citizens. The EU supports many innovative programmes for the improvement of animal care. During the conference, the Commission will launch a DVD which showcases people who face this reality every working day.

Follow the conference via

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