EU animal welfare measures under the watchful eye of EU auditors
The European Union has some of the world’s highest regulatory standards on animal welfare. It aims at improving the quality of animals’ lives, while also meeting citizens’ expectations and market demands. Its citizens, however, are becoming increasingly concerned about animal welfare.
For the 2014-2020 period, EU rural development funds allocated to “animal welfare payments” account for about €1.5 billion. The measures are intended to encourage enhanced levels of welfare which go beyond both EU and national minimum requirements. Whether these standards are being put into practice and whether they are effective is now being checked by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) – the EU’s independent external auditors.
The ECA will examine whether the European Commission and the Member States have made an effective contribution to achieving the EU’s animal welfare objectives. As the guardians of the financial interests of the EU citizens, the EU auditors will also consider the economic aspects and make audit visits to five Member States. The report is due towards the end of 2018.
ECA Member Janusz Wojciechowski leading the audit reflects on the importance of auditing EU animal welfare measures, as the ECA issues a paper with background information about the subject.
The European Court of Auditors (ECA) Member Janusz Wojciechowski reflects on the importance of auditing EU animal welfare measures, as the ECA – the European Union’s independent financial watchdog – examines whether the European Commission and the Member States have made an effective contribution to achieving the EU’s animal welfare objectives.
WHAT IS ANIMAL WELFARE AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT
According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, an animal is in a good state of welfare if it is healthy, comfortable, well-nourished, safe, able to express innate, natural behaviour, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear and distress.
Although the EU has some of the world’s highest regulatory standards on animal welfare, its citizens are becoming increasingly concerned about animal welfare. In a 2016 EU survey, nine out of ten Europeans stated that the welfare of farmed animals is important, and eight out of ten believed that there was a need for further improvements to be made in their country. Many also believed that animal welfare was ...