EU ‘should better enforce animal welfare rules’

Farm animal welfare could be greatly improved if the European Union did more to enforce current regulations, rural consultant ADAS has claimed.

In a report evaluating EU policy on animal welfare, ADAS found the wellbeing of much of Europe’s livestock had been improved thanks to legislation. But it said more could be achieved with “stronger enforcement” of existing rules.

In its recommendations to the Director General for Health and Consumers, who commissioned the report, ADAS said there was a need for more uniformity of the way countries interpreted rules.

It also said there needed to be a “more harmonised system of penalties” across the EU for people who broke animal welfare regulations.

While EU welfare legislation had helped reduce distortions in internal markets caused by differences in national standards, the report said existing legislation should be enhanced to even out standards across Europe.

It said the EU should also consider introducing further legislation to even out dairy cow welfare across the continent.

As well as analysing farm animal directives and regulations on slaughter and transport, the report looked at animal experiments and wild animals kept in captivity.

Compiling the report involved visits to member states and an online consultation with 9000 people.

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