7th Environment Action Programme must be ambitious and include animal welfare
Posted on 29/11/2012
Eurogroup for Animals welcomes the new Environment Action Programme as it focuses on better enforcement of existing environment legislation, recognises the need to improve policy cohesion and the use green public procurement, and includes thematic objectives on protection of natural capital, resource efficiency and protection of citizens’ health. However, Eurogroup is disappointed that the European Commission has failed to take this opportunity to fully integrate animal welfare into environment policy.
Whilst there is potential to include the improvement of animal welfare in several policy areas the only reference to animal protection concerns the need to fill gaps in knowledge related to the properties of chemicals and their impact on human health and the environment, with the aim of reducing the need for animal testing methods. However, no overall strategy to reduce the use of animals in research is included in the proposal.
Eurogroup is pleased to see that the Commission commits to assist Member States with inspections through an “EU-level capacity that can address situations where there is due reason for concern”. However this is far from a structure similar to the Food and Veterinary Office which we believe is necessary.
It is also positive that the programme includes a commitment for the EU to promote sustainable development through bilateral and multilateral trade agreements, as animal welfare is included in the objectives of the EU sustainable development strategy.
“It remains to be seen if the tools proposed will really bring about changes to the current situation where there is a lack of enforcement of existing legislation. There is no clear proposal on how stakeholders should be involved in the policy areas covered by the programme, when we have called for a true Civil Society Dialogue similar to what other Commission Directorates General have in place” commented Veronique Schmit Executive Officer Policy at Eurogroup for Animals.
“We urge the Commission to use this Programme to develop a clear overarching strategy to minimise the use of animals in research and to promote the development, validation, acceptance and use of alternatives but this has not been considered as a core objective of the programme and this is very disappointing,” she concluded.