Germany Reviewing Animal Welfare Standards

GERMANY - The German Parliament has reached cross party agreement to boost animal welfare regulations.
calendar icon 30 July 2012
clock icon 3 minute read

The government is to add supplement to Article 20a of the welfare law on the tenth anniversary of the constitutional amendment.

Federal Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner told a symposium in Bonn last week: "This decision is an important signal to legislature, executives and judiciary. The protection of animals has been greatly upgraded."

She said that Germany has high standards compared to other European animal welfare standards and it could be proud of its science-based approach as well as the approach of its farmers.

She added that in the area of animal welfare special attention had been paid to animal husbandry.

Minister Aigner said there will be a broad public debate on the issue because for the regulations to be successful they needed consumer acceptance.

The discussion process, which is in the "Charter for Agriculture and Consumers" of the federal Department of Agriculture (BMELV), will continue, the minister said.

"We have to keep going and continue to develop the standards of modern animal husbandry steadily - in a dialogue on the research with farmers and consumers."

The symposium "10 Years of the State Target for Animal Protection" saw scientists, farmers and representatives of animal protection groups come together.

"Talking to each other instead of talking about each other - that's my clear vision on animal welfare and animal husbandry.

"All of us to hear the arguments of others and to check their own arguments," said Ms Aigner.

The Minister stressed that there is a broad consensus on animal welfare.

The protection of animals has been a high priority for the federal government, the Minister stressed and pointed to the recent amendment to the Animal Welfare Act, which contained a number of improvements for animal welfare in Germany, such as the phasing out of the castration of piglets without anaesthetic by 2017 or the implementation of the EU Laboratory Animal Directive into German law.

"Whether it is the reduction of animal testing or the development of alternative animal husbandry, research and development are driving forces for more animal welfare in Germany," Minister Aigner said.

She added that it is also important to gain a new impetus particularly on animal-friendly production of food with methods that are generally accepted by the public.

The German Agricultural Research Alliance (DAFA) recently submitted new advice for research and on the basis of these proposals specific research projects and funding are now being formulated.

The innovation support programme of the BMELV has received funding of €34 million this year.

The minister concluded: "I am convinced that Germany is not only a leading location for high-tech agricultural machinery - Germany is also a leading centre for sustainable, environmentally-friendly animal agriculture.

"And we will continue to be successful if everyone works together - farmers, who live with animal welfare in animal production, animal welfare organisations, who are committed to the issue, and science and industry with their innovations."

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