The importance of separating Animal Welfare from Agriculture
17 th August
12:00 - 12:45
In October 1997, for the first time a Protocol on the Protection and welfare of animals was annexed to the Treaty of Amsterdam (entered into force in May 1999), which defined animals as sentient beings. In 2007 that text was transformed into Article 13 of the Treaty of Lisbon (entered into force in December 2009).
This historical change triggered similar acts around the world (France, Quebec, New Zealand, Colombia, Wallonia among others). In the Brussels region animals are recognised as “sentient beings, having own interests and dignity, deserving to be specifically protected.”
Nevertheless, most governments continue to place the competence for Animal Welfare under the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture, perpetuating the idea that animals are agricultural products rather than sentient beings deserving respect, and leaving animal welfare subordinate to economic interests.
In some countries this competence has been given to other ministries, such as Environment or Health. In the European Union the Directorate-General for Health has this responsibility, but any progress on farm animal welfare must be supported by DG AGRI, and on wild animals by DG ENVI, just to give two examples.
In the three administrations of Belgium, since 2014 Ministers have been given a title that includes animal welfare as one of their main competences, and this has facilitated the adoption of more progressive legislation and policies.
GAIA invites the participants to the CARE conference to: a) campaign to move the responsibility for animal welfare away from the Ministry of Agriculture in all EU Member States; b) to demand that a Minister (other than Agriculture) has Animal Welfare included in the relevant job title (e.g. Minister for the Environment and Animal Welfare); c) similarly, that an EU Commissioner has it included in the official job title (e.g. Commissioner for Human Health, Consumer Protection, and Animal Welfare).
When: Saturday, 17 August, 2019, 12:00–12:45, Room: A.2