On 27 June, GAIA organized a debate in the European Parliament around the need to have a European Commissioner explicitly in charge of animal welfare when the next Commission will be established after the 2024 European elections.
13 July 2023

The #EuforAnimals campaign, led by GAIA and supported by over 60 animal welfare NGOs, demands that more attention is given 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”.

This campaign is already supported by nearly 200 MEPs and more than 270,000 EU citizens.

You can sign the petition too here:

Another year of mobilisation!

It is the right time to highlight the importance of animal rights and to defend their interests in the European Union. The theme of the debate was: "Why do we need a European Commissioner for Animal Welfare?"

This discussion brought together the Flemish Minister for Animal Welfare Ben Weyts, the President of the animal defense association GAIA, Michel Vandenbosch, various MEPs from all political groups, as well as Adolfo Sansolini, Coordinator of the #EuforAnimals campaign.

Niels Fuglsang (S&D, Denmark), Tilly Metz (Greens, Luxembourg), Manon Aubri (The Left, France) and Anna Bonfrisco (ID, Italy) explained why having Animal Welfare clearly included in the job title of an EU Commissioner is need to ensure more transparency, accountability, and the allocation of adequate resources to solve the countless problems that still affect billions of animals in Europe.

Fabrizio Fabbri from Coop Italia, one of the largest supermarket chains in Italy, emphasised that having an EU Commissioner explicitly in charge of animal welfare would be very important for progressive retailers and farmers, because this clear responsibility would support the efforts of those who trade in animal products but want to see the way animals are treated improved, not only through the higher standards that they are already adopting on a voluntary basis.

This diverse group of speakers, moderated by journalist Christopher Burns, made possible a very lively debate, in which it some tasks were defined that could fall within the remit of the future European Commissioner in charge of Animal Welfare, such as:

  • Ensure the adequate enforcement of existing rules and their updating when necessary;
  • Propose ambitious legislative progress and allocate adequate human and financial resources to support its implementation and enforcement (e.g. ban the fur trade and force-feeding of ducks and geese in foie gras production; prohibit castration without anesthesia, etc.);
  • Give animal welfare a higher status, similar to other European matters such as agriculture, transport and trade (matters which can occasionally conflict with improvements on animal welfare);
  • Stand up to lobbies that will always defend their private interests before those of animals, the demands of European citizens, and the engagement of more progressive business operators;
  • Establish binding norms and standards at European level, thus avoiding as much as possible conflicts of interest between sectors and unfair competition between member countries;
  • Issue sanctions in the event of repeated violations by member states;

The next European elections will take place in the 27 EU Member States from 6 to 9 June 2024. There is just over a year left to convince our politicians to support this proposal and include it in their electoral manifestos at the national and European level, to ensure that citizens’ demands on animal rights and animal welfare are properly listened to.

Citizens expect more ethical rules in terms of animal welfare, and that those who will represent us in the European institutions will positively engage on these topics. It will be their responsibility to make it happen after the 2024European elections!

You can still watch the debate here :

Please sign the petition for a European commissioner in charge of animal welfare: