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European Commission - Press release

Commission gathers international experts to drive new Animal Welfare Strategy 2012-2015 forward

Brussels, 29 February 2012 - Enhanced consumer empowerment and strengthening enforcement of existing rules are the main objectives of a two-day international conference on the new EU animal welfare strategy taking place in Brussels on 29 February – 1 March. Co-organised by the European Commission and the Danish Presidency of the EU, this high-level conference aims to drive forward an integrated approach to animal welfare.

Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner, John Dalli, said: "Ethical issues surrounding animal welfare are becoming an integral part of food quality. Consumers are increasingly factoring in welfare considerations into their purchases. Giving consumers access to the right information so that they can make informed choices will help drive our animal welfare policies forward. Informed consumers are empowered consumers. Dedicating resources to education and training as well as strengthening enforcement will deliver both in economic and in welfare terms."

The conference

The two day high-level conference, organised by the European Commission and the Danish Presidency of the EU, will be attended by members of the European Parliament's Inter-group on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals together with Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner John Dalli as well as senior officials from the European Commission and the Danish Presidency of the EU.

The purpose of the conference is to present the new animal welfare strategy which builds on previous strategies and focuses on informing consumers and strengthening implementation and enforcement of existing rules, to ensure fair competitiveness in the EU internal market. Discussions will also focus on animal welfare in the global context.

This conference will bring together a broad range of representatives from national and international organisations, veterinarians, farmers, producers, retailers, academics, scientists and NGO's.


The strategy was adopted by the Commission on 19 January 2012 and proposes clear and simple principles for animal welfare, accompanied by better information and education for consumers and animal handlers as well as strengthening enforcement. It contains a list of actions that will gradually come into effect over a four year period (2012-2015) to tackle sector specific issues as well as general welfare requirements.

From an animal welfare point of view, farming is the most important sector in the EU, as far as the number of animals is concerned. In farms across the EU, there are about two billion birds (chickens for meat production, laying hens, turkeys, ducks and geese) and three hundred million mammals (cows, pigs, sheep, etc.) The pet population is a good second since it is estimated that there are about one hundred million dogs and cats in the Union.

Further information can be obtained at:

WEB STREAMING – 29/02 – plenary session:

WEB STREAMING – 01/03 – legislative session:

Scientific session:

E-mail address to communicate directly with the speakers: (legislative session) (scientific session)

Contacts :

Frédéric Vincent (+32 2 298 71 66)

Aikaterini Apostola (+32 2 298 76 24)

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