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Contribution of 7 associations to the Fitness Check of the Animal Welfare rules in the European Union.

Whilst the whole world is trying to deal with the consequences of the COVID19  disease with at this time more than 660,000 deaths worldwide and enormous economic losses, an important question really should be: What are we going to do to avoid a new pandemic?

Scientists warned us  years ago that a pandemic could occur by strains of for example an  Avian Flu virus. Some people believe that "Chicken farms are a timebomb.” And just
recently a new virus has been found in pig farms in China also with "pandemic potential". It is not enough to turn a blind eye and hope for the best as previous governments have done until now, with all the consequences the COVID19 pandemic has had on our lives, our freedom, our health, our economy, our whole society and on the lives of healthy animals.

Welfare initiatives seem good but they are not the actions that we need. Nothing is being proposed about the reduction (eradication would be even  better) of the consumption of meat or other animal products knowing that eating meat is bad for the environment, for our climate, for our health and for the social security budget. Factory-farming  is a major source of zoonoses and so is a breeding ground for a new pandemic.

Raising livestock makes a mockery of EU initiatives to combat climate change and for the recovery of our nature and biodiversity.  We note and we regret that the EU apparently wants to carry on with "business as usual" and this is not only unacceptable but even dangerous and puts the lives of others at risk.

It is of our opinion that we not only have to end factory farming, but in the long run to stop animal farming completely as explained in our previous letter to the European Commission1 and our tribune published in  Reporterre of 25th of May 20202

Animal agriculture is ruining our planet. Agriculture already takes up to 45% of land worldwide of which 75% is for livestock. A great part of this land is taken away from habitats for wild animals and so has a huge negative impact on biodiversity.  Up to 150
animal  species disappear every day. Animal Agriculture is responsible for 14% of the Greenhouse gas emissions. Emissions into the atmosphere of methane (CH4), a very powerful greenhouse gas, caused amongst others by our farming methods, continue to increase, according to a new analyse published Wednesday, July 15, 2020, by the Global Carbon Project (GCP). And according to a recent study  by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: "The production of meat and dairy products emits more nitrogen than the Earth can support ". Not to speak of antibiotic resistance and the so-called diseases of affluence related to the consumption of animal products. If people really want to continue to eat meat there are other ways to bring meat on the table, like for example lab grown meat products.

It is high time to take concrete steps. Other counties such as the Netherlands have already started to buy out pig farms for environmental and health reasons, and to reduce the number of cattle for reasons of climate change. While they are planning for the future, the EU seems to be looking at the past and to continue to make the same mistakes. It should stop wasting time and effort on improving the livestock industry but should endeavour to reduce it in a way that gives the current actors a soft landing.

Bournezeau, 29 July 2020

Lesley Moffat (Eyes on Animals) 

Gabriella Baran (Vivre et Laisser Vivre)

Audrey Hervouet (LUNA)

Madeleine Fontaine (L'Arche de Maddy)

Stéphanie Noël-Homs (Sanctuaire La Garie)

Marit de Haan (NALA 85480)

Nigel Franks (Forests From Farms)