EU - The European Commission is to launch a Eurobarometer survey into animal welfare this year.
The last survey on animal welfare in 2007 showed that European Citizens are concerned about the treatment of animals and about improving welfare.
The Food Safety Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis is also to launch a general debate with the College of Commissioners regarding animal welfare in order to obtain a consensus on their approach.
The EuroGroup for Animals said it hoped the debate will lead to a clear proposal on how the Commission will address the shortcomings of the implementation of the current Animal Welfare Strategy 2012-2015 and propose future remedies to the situation.
In a letter to agriculture ministers last week, Mr Andriukaitis said: “As you are aware we are proud to have in Europe a set of high level requirements for the welfare of animals, which I would like to see fully enforced across the EU.
“More can be done to enforce those standards, and to promote them so as to reap the added value that they afford to EU animal products on international markets.
“Animal welfare is one of my priorities for the food chain portfolio and I intend to elicit in the course of my mandate a broad debate on how best to pursue our animal welfare objectives.”
Reineke Hameleers, Director of Eurogroup for Animals said; “The work of our 46 members shows that the vast majority of European citizens feel that animal welfare should be well protected by the EU.
“We believe that the survey will confirm that it is a core European value that must be better respected.
"It’s of crucial importance that article 13 in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union which considers animal sentience is implemented and that the animal welfare strategy 2012-2015 will be delivered. Animal welfare is clearly not a matter of subsidiarity and citizens expect the EU to act.”
She added: “We call on the European Commission to ensure that the survey will not only consider farm animals but also cover other pertinent areas such as wildlife, research animals and indeed companion animals.
“There are many issues that affect all these animals today in the European Union which are not being addressed and the Commission must take its responsibilities seriously.”
The EuroGroup said that the previous Eurobarometer survey skewed the focus away from animal welfare toward the cost of higher food production standards.
EuroGroup said it hoped that the Commission will not be driven by industry and economic cost but by the reality of the suffering animals still experience in Europe and how it is a major concern to citizens.