The very fact that such a letter is needed paints a damning picture of the EU track record on animal welfare and suggests a new arrangement and structure for protecting animal welfare is required. This website argues that a DG for animal welfare should be created with powers to address such breaches and to refer such matters to the ECJ. The laws clearly exist in this case, but there is inadequate enforcement and compliance and millions of animals suffer as a result against the will of the people. This is not good enough in the twenty first century.
In 2013 Compassion in World Farming (Compassion) investigated pig farms in six Member States: Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Cyprus and Poland. They visited 45 farms. All but one of these farms were breaking the above provisions on the welfare of pigs. In addition, many of the farms were filthy breaking the Directive’s requirement that pigs should have a clean lying area.
The pig sector & Member State authorities have known about these problems for many years – and have failed to take effective action. In 2008 and 2009 Compassion conducted an investigation in 74 pig farms across Europe: in Germany, Denmark, Hungary, Netherlands, Spain and UK. Most of the pigs seen during this investigation were being farmed in breach of the Directive’s provisions on enrichment and tail docking.
In addition, reports by the Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office have repeatedly drawn attention to non-compliance with the law requiring enrichment materials to be provided and the ban on routine tail docking.
It is unacceptable that, over ten years since they came into force, many pigs are being reared in breach of key aspects of EU welfare legislation. We welcome the fact that the Commission is currently developing guidance on the Pigs Directive. However, some Member States are using this as an excuse for inaction.
In addition, in a number of Member States sows are still being kept in sow stalls in breach of the Directive.
We urge the Commission and the Member States to take effective steps to ensure proper enforcement of the Directive.