Green Party Animal Welfare spokesperson Keith Taylor MEP has welcomed his colleagues “overwhelming support” on a vote to improve the welfare standards of chickens farmed for meat across the EU.
The vote comes just days after a new report from AgriBusiness Consulting found that intensive broiler farming contributes to the current increase in antimicrobial resistance and causes environmental degradation, while also being intrinsically linked to poor animal welfare.
The report added evidence to claims from animal rights advocates that EU legislation on broiler welfare fails to guarantee for the welfare of broiler chickens.
In response to the report, Keith Taylor MEP pushed for a resolution to address the issues identified. The resolution, supported by 409 MEPs and rejected by just 19, tackles the practice of breeding chickens to grow at unnaturally fast rates, concerns about ‘stocking density’, and the need to end the overmedication of chickens with medicines vital for human health.
Speaking after the vote, the senior Green Party politician and Vice Chair of the European Parliament’s Animal Welfare Intergroup, said:
“Today’s vote is a vital step forward in improving the welfare of intensively farmed chickens across the EU. The dire conditions broiler chickens are subjected to not only harms their health and wellbeing but to ours too. Ultimately, this vote should reinforce the message that factory farming is destructive and shows no respect for farmed animal welfare; it should be the latest step along the road to overhauling our entire farming culture. Factory farming is an environmental, public health, climate and animal welfare calamity. It is time to stop the machine.”
“The vote has added relevance in the UK as Brexit approaches. With UK Ministers’ enthusiasm for an ‘America First’ UK-US trade deal showing no signs of abating, the prospect of a race to the bottom on animal welfare and farming standards in the UK looms ever larger. The US has already made it clear any deal will be dependent on the UK rolling back various EU farming and animal welfare safeguards. Even starting from a low bar, post-Brexit it is looking increasingly likely that the UK will take a giant leap backwards as the EU takes tentative steps forward on improving farmed animal welfare protections.”
“Farmed animals in the UK will be among the biggest losers in a US-led chlorinated chicken coop d’etat post-Brexit.”