Feedback to public consultation on the Revision of the EU legislation on Animal Welfare
During the summer, the European Commission launched an Inception impact assessment (roadmap) on the revision of EU legislation on animal welfare. As IFOAM Organics Europe, we welcomed this initiative and hopes it will contribute to elaborate a future EU legislation that improves animal welfare.
In our reply, we recalled that organic farming practices are based on the four principles of organic: ecology, health, care, and fairness. These also applies to animals, and the EU organic regulation pays close attention to animal well-being and should be regarded as an animal welfare best practice. Specifically, the EU organic regulation mentions “the observance of high standards for health, the environment and animal welfare in the production of organic products is intrinsic to the high quality of those products”.
In this regard, we support creating an animal welfare labelling system that puts forward adequate and species-specific animal welfare practices, in which the organic standard is clearly identifiable. We presented the example of a model like the egg label, implemented by the European Union in 1999 under the method of production (MOP) labelling option. This uses an easy-to-understand and implement ranking system where 0= organic, 1= free range, 2= barn, 3= cage. This system clearly shows which agricultural practice contributes most and least to the welfare of the animal. The implementation of this label did not put too much extra costs or burdens in the system and led to a tremendous change in consumer behaviour in some Member States, as consumers have the guarantee that organic is controlled and certified. We believe this labelling system is a relevant model for other agricultural products.
As IFOAM Organics Europe, we will keep on advocating for higher animal welfare standards in the upcoming months and years as the European Commission foresees:
- A new animal welfare legislation by 2023 as announced in the Farm to Fork strategy, and
- To “find concrete and operational ways to further improve animal welfare in organic production” as per action 21 of the new Organic Action Plan.
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