GREENS WELCOME EU BAN ON LIVE EXPORT SUBSIDIES LUCAS CO-SPONSORED WRITTEN DECLARATION BECOMES LAW
GREEN Party Euro-MP Caroline Lucas has welcomed an EU decision to stop paying subsidies of more than £40 million a year to exporters of live cattle from the EU to Africa and the Middle East.
The ban on live export subsidies, which had been using taxpayers’ cash to fund hundreds of thousands of cattle enduring journeys of up to ten days – and conditions already outlawed in the EU to prevent animal suffering – came into force on January 1st after a cross-party campaign organised by members of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Animal Welfare and Hampshire-based Compassion in World Farming.
“The scrapping of these subsidies will immediately reduce incentives for EU farmers to breed cattle for live export – and will ultimately reduce the number of animals subject to the terrible cruelty the trade entails,” said Dr Lucas.
“It is a victory for animal welfare, for taxpayers whose cash was being used to fund the cruel trade, and the European Parliament, which overwhelming backed a Written Declaration calling for the subsidies to be scrapped – and the money spent instead on animal welfare projects.”
Dr Lucas, who is vice-president of the European Parliament’s cross-party animal welfare group, was one of the co-sponsors of the Written Declaration (the EU’s equivalent of an Early Day Motion at Westminster). Written Declarations need to attract the support of half the European Parliament’s members within three months to become official parliamentary policy – a milestone that was reached with 374 signatures in July last year.
Dr Lucas said: “Animal welfare is a core concern of the European Parliament and MEPs have worked hard to improve minimum welfare standards and reduce the suffering and cruelty inflicted by the international trade in livestock.”
The South-East England MEP and Vice-President of the RSPCA added: “It is absolutely outrageous that taxpayers’ money was being used to fund a cruel long-distance trade in animals that causes such suffering, and I am delighted the EU has backed my call to bring the practice to an immediate end.”
Dr Lucas added: “Farm animal welfare standards in the EU are far from perfect and this decision represents a small step along a very long road: Greens have demanded a complete end to all live animal exports, both within and beyond the EU.”