Have you ever heard of the Eurobarometer 2016? The what? I certainly hadn’t until just now. What is this Eurobarometer 2016? It is a survey conducted by the EU Commission testing the weather of opinion on animal welfare among the citizens of all EU member states.
And I’m very happy to say that the Eurobarometer casts bright rays of hope over animal welfare in Europe for the years ahead. Admittedly, there are still mountains of work needed to bring the lives animals actually experience in line with Eurogroup for Animals’ vision but we have every reason for optimism.
Incidentally, in the next week or so I’m going to be taking a look at the EU and animal welfare in the light of the UK’s forthcoming In/Out referendum. Meanwhile feast your eyes on this beauty (and the text below!)
Before we get to the Eurobarometer, let me introduce you to Eurogroup for Animals. I’ve no idea why I didn’t know about this group either, since they’ve been beavering away (sorry, couldn’t resist) at their animal advocacy with the EU in Brussels for the last 30 years. Maybe you’re way ahead of me and knew this already, but I’ve only just stumbled across them – another happy discovery. #Acts4Animals is the group’s hashtag – and there could hardly be a better one.
A Europe in which:
- Every animal lives in an environment where they can perform their natural behaviour
- Cruelty to animals is not tolerated
- The welfare of all animals is protected by European legislation
- All EU laws on the protection of animals are effective and prevent animal suffering
- Politicians in all 28 member states and at EU level consider the impact every new policy has on animals
- Our active membership network of animal welfare groups is recognised as the leading authority on animal welfare
“We are recognised by the European Parliament and Commission as the leading animal welfare organisation at EU level and represent animal welfare interests on many EU advisory committees and consultation bodies. Over the years we have been instrumental in achieving legal protection and EU standards which dramatically improve the way animals are treated.”
And so to the Eurobarometer 2016
The EU recently published the Eurobarometer 2016, the results of the survey conducted by the EU Commission among citizens of all member states for their opinions on the treatment of animals.
You can see from the results set out below, that there is an urgent need to bring EU law into line with the level of protection the people of Europe want to see for all animals, whether farmed, companion or exotic.
The significance of the Eurobarometer’s findings is the strong leverage it will give the Eurogroup for Animals in its future engagement with the EU.
writes Reineker Hameleers
“Nine out of 10 Europeans believe imported products should respect EU animal welfare standards. They also think the EU should do more to promote animal welfare awareness worldwide.
- 94% said protecting the welfare of farm animals is important.
- 89% believe there should be EU legislation that requires people to care for animals used for commercial purposes.
- 82% think farm animals should be better protected than they are now.
- 74% said companion animals need greater protection.
- 59% of all European citizens are willing to pay 5% more for animal-friendly products.
Overwhelming public support for animal welfare isn’t restricted to a small number of member states or any particular corner of Europe. Interest in animal welfare is strong throughout the EU.
For example, 99% of those polled in Sweden, Finland and Portugal think protecting the welfare of farm animals is important as do 86% in Croatia, Hungary and Poland.
This massive support for animal welfare reflects the hard work over many years of our 49 national and international member organisations in 29 countries. Eurogroup for Animals represents tens of millions of citizens working towards a Europe that cares for animals.
The Eurobarometer is a rallying cry for the European Commission to take civil societies’ views about animal welfare more seriously.
It’s time for Europe to act for animals.
Of course, the EU is in the forefront of animal welfare on many issues. These accomplishments are significant. They’re to be celebrated. But there’s more to do for animals on the farm, in commercial practices and in our homes.
- 83 000 000 pigs are castrated annually without pain relief or anaesthesia. Existing legislation on tail docking of pigs is not being enforced.
- 1.037 billion farm animals are transported annually over long distances in horrible conditions.
- There’s no maximum transport duration. In many destination countries, animal welfare rules are lacking and slaughter conditions are appalling.
- There’s a 100% increase in the number of imported animals and animal products during the last decade. These imports in most cases don’t comply with European animal welfare standards. Transparency on the origins of imported products is lacking.
Dairy cattle, beef cattle, rabbits, ducks, geese and farmed fish aren’t protected under EU law.
They suffer from welfare problems due to the continuing intensification of industrial farming.
The legal and illegal trade in pets and exotic animals is booming. There are no proper legal mechanisms to safeguard their welfare and prevent suffering.
There are no objective, mandatory labelling mechanisms for consumer products other than the successful scheme for shell eggs.
I could go on.
But it’s time to move on.
And the timing couldn’t be better.
The European project is under intense scrutiny. Its future is in the spotlight. Its foundations are being tested by a number of concurrent crises.
Rather than being seen as a peripheral issue, perhaps even as a luxury, animal welfare provides the Commission with a means to connect with individual citizens, and to demonstrate the true value of European solutions.
As Europe’s federation of animal advocacy organisations, Eurogroup for Animals wholeheartedly welcomes the results of the special Eurobarometer on animal welfare.
The survey demonstrates beyond doubt that EU citizens care about animal welfare. It also reveals that citizens see a clear, added value for the role of the European institutions in furthering the welfare of animals.
If the European Commission wants to bring the EU closer to its citizens, and demonstrate its value as an international institution, start work now with animal welfare.
It’s a vote winner!”
Reineke Hameleers, Director, Eurogroup for Animals
The importance of the Eurobarometer
WHY IS THIS EUROBAROMETER IMPORTANT FOR US?
A Eurobarometer on animal welfare is exceptional: this is ONLY the second time we’ve obtained qualitative statistics in 40 years.
It has a high communication value and offers our organisations a critical tool to advocate for more animal welfare by showing the support of public opinion for our cause.
WHAT IS THE EUROBAROMETER?
- Official public opinion measurement instrument of the EU
- Addresses a wide variety of topical issues of concern to citizens throughout the EU
- 4 types of Eurobarometer surveys: standard, special, flash and qualitative.
FINDINGS OF PREVIOUS EUROBAROMETER CONSULTATIONS ON ANIMAL WELFARE
EU citizens care greatly
- June 2005 : Attitudes of consumer towards the welfare of farmed products (special Eurobarometer)/report here
- March 2007 : Attitudes of EU citizens towards AW (special Eurobarometer/ concerning ALL animals)/report here
- October 2008 : European’s attitudes towards animal cloning(Flash Eurobarometer)/report here
2016 EUROBAROMETER is the result of our lobby efforts – at times of legislative inertia this communication tool will be instrumental for our advocacy work.
1. Eurogroup for Animals represents 49 animal welfare organisations in all EU Member States. Since its launch in 1980, the organisation has succeeded in encouraging the EU to adopt higher legal standards for animal protection. Eurogroup represents public opinion through its membership organisations across the Union, and has both the scientific and technical expertise to provide authoritative advice on issues relating to animal welfare. For more information, visit http://www.eurogroupforanimals.org
2. On 15 March, 60 European decision-makers gathered in the European Parliament to share their vision on animal welfare for 2016-2020. Please check out the recording of this event and related press release on the following links: http://www.eurogroupforanimals.org/videos/ and http://www.eurogroupforanimals.org/press-room/
3. Further information and analysis on the Eurobarometer as well as the text of the report can be found on our website: http://www.eurogroupforanimals.org/eurobarometer/