Petition

End animal torture: Stop cage farming in Europe and via imports!

  • politics and law

Over 300 million farmed animals suffer in cages across Europe. From caged hens who long to stretch their wings to sows who want to mother their piglets unconfined, and rabbits who deserve the space to hop. Caging all these animals is cruel and unnecessary. But now there is a chance to abolish the caging of animals across Europe! As a result of a successful European Citizens' Initiative, the European Commission has to decide until mid-July whether it will listen to the 1.4 million citizens who signed the call and introduce a law on cage farming. A first discussion in the European Parliament was very positive, several European Commissioners have already spoken out in favour of putting legislation in place. But the decision has to be unanimous – and there is still hesitation in trade policy circles. Therefore, join our petition and write to Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen now and demand: Please enforce better animal welfare - also in trade policy!

Petition

End animal torture: Stop cage farming in Europe and via imports!

  • politics and law

Over 300 million farmed animals suffer in cages across Europe. From caged hens who long to stretch their wings to sows who want to mother their piglets unconfined, and rabbits who deserve the space to hop. Caging all these animals is cruel and unnecessary. But now there is a chance to abolish the caging of animals across Europe! As a result of a successful European Citizens' Initiative, the European Commission has to decide until mid-July whether it will listen to the 1.4 million citizens who signed the call and introduce a law on cage farming. A first discussion in the European Parliament was very positive, several European Commissioners have already spoken out in favour of putting legislation in place. But the decision has to be unanimous – and there is still hesitation in trade policy circles. Therefore, join our petition and write to Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen now and demand: Please enforce better animal welfare - also in trade policy!

Dear Commissioner Dombrovskis,
Dear President von der Leyen,

Over 300 million farmed animals suffer in cages across Europe. With 1.4 million validated signatures, the European Citizens’ Initiative "End the Cage Age", supported by 170 NGOs, impressively demonstrates the extent to which the public are demanding the protection of farm animals; a demand which is both scientifically and ethically necessary.

By 15 July 2021, the EU Commission will have made their decision whether to start a legislative process to ban caged farming. Several European Commissioners have already spoken out in favour of putting such a legislation in place. However an argument rooted in trade policy, which claims that higher animal welfare standards in the EU would lead to increased cheap imports from outside the EU, is being used as a potential excuse for inaction. This argument is not an obstacle to banning caged farming in the EU. The EU has both the tools and the moral obligation to ensure the improved treatment of animals is safeguarded against cheap imports from third countries.

Border adjustment measures are the tool to make it possible. In accordance with WTO rules, they can put in place the requirement that imports of animal products are made on the same basis of animal welfare standards in place in the EU's internal market. These measures must neither be discriminatory towards third countries nor protectionist, and can be taken on public health, environmental and/or moral grounds. For this purpose, there is already a WTO Model Arbitration Agreement that allows the EU to ban the import of baby seals skins, precisely for moral reasons.  

Banning the caging of farm animals, which is part of the commitments of the EU enshrined in Article 13 TFEU, will affect the EU's international trade relations. However, they are not protectionist measures directed against international trade. They are measures which, building on fundamental principles of European primary law as well as moral imperatives, are intended to bring fair treatment of farm animals into line with the EU's external trade policy.

We call on you, Commissioner Dombrovskis and President von der Leyen to make sure that the EU significantly improves the protection of farms animals in the EU while taking the necessary measures regarding trade policy. 

Yours sincerely, 

  • Valdis Dombrovskis,  European Commissioner for Trade 
  • Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

foodwatch started the petition on 19 May 2021. 

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