Successful Advocacy for Animals in the European Union

Dr Jo Swabe (Humane Society International/Europe)

  • 14th October
    10:50 - 11:35

Many of the decisions that impact the lives of animals in Europe on farms, in laboratories or in the wild are taken at an EU, rather than a national, regional or local level.

Over the past couple of decades, some of the most egregious confinement practices in animal agriculture, such as the use of barren battery cages, veal crates and individual sow stalls, have been prohibited at an EU level. Both the trade in commercial seal products and in dog and cat fur have been banned, as has the practice of shark finning. Cosmetics may no longer be tested on animals and the ‘3Rs’ (i.e. replacement, reduction and refinement of animal use) has become compulsory for research and product testing in the EU. Even the concept of animal sentience has been enshrined in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

For a variety of reasons, EU policymaking on animal welfare has stagnated in recent years. However, there is still much to be achieved to improve protections for animals in Europe. This presentation will look at how to successfully advocate for animals, to influence the policy agenda and to maintain political pressure for change at an EU level. It will explain how the key EU Institutions, such as the European Parliament, European Commission and Council of the European Union, work, and more importantly – from the perspective of a Brussels’ insider – how to effectively lobby (even with limited resources) to also make them also work for you and animals.