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CAP Reforms Fail Europe's Farm Animals, Says CIWF

13 October 2011

UK - Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) says it is horrified by the European Commission's failure to improve animal welfare in the proposals for CAP reform.

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) proposals that were officially revealed by the European Commission yesterday, fail to support farmers who want to introduce higher welfare systems on their farms.

Despite strong scientific evidence that industrial livestock production harms animal health and welfare and notwithstanding taxpayers’ belief that the CAP should help improve the well-being of farm animals, the Commission's proposals almost completely fail to address animal welfare.

Indeed the proposals seriously weaken the existing CAP measures that enable payments to be made to farmers who wish to attain high standards of animal welfare. One such measure (Article 68 of Pillar 1) has been disposed of altogether. The other measure (the Animal Welfare Payments in Pillar 2) has been diluted to the point where it may be of little value in practice. At present Animal Welfare Payments can be made for five to seven years, whereas under the proposal they can only be made for 'a renewable period of one year'. Farmers will be reluctant to incur the expense of moving to a new, higher welfare system if they may receive support for just one year.

Peter Stevenson, Compassion's Chief Policy Advisor says: "We are deeply disappointed that current provisions have been very substantially weakened. Under the Commission proposals for the CAP, after 2013 almost none of the €55 billion of CAP funds handed out each year will be used to help farmers move away from industrialised farming to more humane, higher welfare farming."

The Commission's proposals will now be considered by the European Parliament and the 27 Member States. Compassion in World Farming is calling on the Parliament and the Member States to strengthen the proposals so that a significant part of the CAP funds are used to help Europe's farmers move away from the inhumane, resource-hungry factory farms that blight so much of the EU livestock sector and instead to adopt high welfare extensive farming practices. These would benefit both animal welfare and other key CAP objectives including reduced pollution and use of water, enhanced soil quality, regeneration of biodiversity and improved human health.

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