MEPs appeal to Ursula von der Leyen to implement this proposal in the new EU Commission.
4 July 2024

Surveys like the Eurobarometer show that a majority of European citizens believe that animal welfare should continue to be improved through adequate legislation and its proper enforcement but too often this topic has been treated as a marginal one at the institutional level.

Today, a new survey realised by the international market research company Ipsos, shows that for most Europeans such necessary improvements should be achieved by the explicit inclusion of animal welfare in the job title of the competent EU Commissioner. A copy of the results is enclosed to this press release.

The 2019-2024 Commission expressed a more concrete commitment on animal welfare than its predecessors in the last few terms. Nevertheless, this responsibility was attributed to a single unit of DG SANTE, under Directorate G on ‘Crisis Preparedness in Food, Animals, and Plants’. This resulted into a lack of clarity on roles, accountability, and resources to support the enforcement of existing animal welfare legislation and the introduction of necessary new legislation.

This can and should change, and an effective proposal is on the table, which awaits a concrete response by the next President of the EU Commission and by the Commissioner in charge of animal welfare, having animal welfare explicitly mentioned, among other responsibilities, in his or her job title.

Michel Vandenbosch
GAIA President

This answer is supported by the #EUforAnimals campaign, which aims to give more importance to animal welfare by making this responsibility explicit in the name of the relevant Directorate-General and the job title of the competent EU Commissioner.

 In the present context, the Commissioner’s responsibility would become for 'Health, Food Safety and Animal Welfare'.

In October 2023, a petition signed by 309,987 citizens was presented to the European Commission and European Parliament. The Parliament’s Petition Committee acknowledged its importance and decided to involve both Commission and MEPs in a deeper analysis of this proposal.

New Survey

The Ipsos survey now confirms that 70% Europeans, with percentages going from 59% in Hungary to 82% in Sweden, agree that the time has come for this proposal to be implemented with the new EU Commission.

MEPs are still being confirmed or picking groups, but many of them – over 80 newly elected or re-elected for this term – have already decided to express their support to this campaign.

On these basis, Niels Fuglsang (S&D, DK) and Anja Hazekamp (The Left, NL), two MEPs who have already been active on this front in the previous term of the European Parliament, today have written to Ursula von der Leyen, candidate to be confirmed at the Presidency of the European Commission, asking her to endorse this proposal, and proposed “to explicitly mention Animal Welfare in the job title of the competent Commissioner for health and food safety in the new term.”

The #EUforAnimals campaign is promoted by the Belgian organisation GAIA and is supported by over 60 national and international organisations. New actions to promote it, which will involve MEPs of all political orientations, will be announced soon.