8 June 2001

Stricter penalties for slack enforcers

EU countries which fail to stamp out welfare abuses in their livestock industries have been threatened with stricter penalties by Brussels.

Addressing a recent conference in Sweden, EU consumer affairs commissioner, David Byrne, said the single biggest measure anyone could take to improve the lot of farm animals would be the proper enforcement of current laws.

"I am growing increasingly weary of the repeated reports to my officials of the continued non-respect of community provisions on animal welfare," he said. "I intend to take tougher action against member states which do not respect existing legislation."

Apart from the legal aspects, Mr Byrne added that there were economic gains to be had from treating animals better. "Diseases and illness can be kept in check through the provision of good living conditions, securing at the same time higher safety for consumers." &#42