The #EUforAnimals petition, launched by GAIA and supported by over 60 European associations, has collected a total of 309,897 signatures. These were handed over to the European Commission and Parliament today.
24 October 2023

Since 1974, the European Union has been working to pass legislation aimed at improving the conditions of millions of animals within its borders. While notable progress has been achieved over the past decades, there has been a worrying trend towards legislative stagnation in recent years. This inertia has greatly favored sectors whose activities rely on the exploitation of animals, particularly intensive livestock farming.

Against this backdrop, GAIA launched the #EUforAnimals campaign in March 2021, garnering support from 62 European associations. Its primary objective? To ensure that animal welfare is explicitly included in the title of the relevant European Commissioner.

According to a recent European opinion survey conducted in June 2021 in ten EU member states, collectively representing 80% of the EU population (Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain and Sweden), it appears that 7 out of 10 EU citizens are in favor of the appointment of a European Commissioner for Animal Welfare.

In Belgium, since 2014, each region has had its own Minister for Animal Welfare, which has generated a pro-animal political dynamic in the country. GAIA and its partners believe that the appointment of an Animal Welfare Commissioner would have a similar effect at European level. Due to their excessive influence on European policies, sectoral interests have been effective in impeding the advancement of animal protection laws. We are convinced that a Commissioner for Animal Welfare would better safeguard this legislation against these economic interests. In addition, he or she would have a dedicated budget to implement an effective animal protection policy.

Michel Vandenbosch
GAIA President

The campaign has been a great success: 194 MEPs have supported it, and almost 310,000 European citizens have signed the petition.

Today, the signatures were officially handed over to the European Commission and Parliament. At the event, GAIA President Michel Vandenbosch, #EUforAnimals Coordinator Adolfo Sansolini and Eurogroup Director Reineke Hameleers took the floor to underline the political importance of this campaign.

While awaiting a response from the European institutions, GAIA and its partners are calling on European and national parties to include the demand for the appointment of a European Commissioner for Animal Welfare in their programmes for the 2024 European elections.

Handover of the #EUforAnimals petition to the European Commission and Parliament. Watch the replay on Facebook: