Animal Welfare

What Would You Do With 100 Euros?

On 22 October 2014, the European Parliament will be voting on the EU's 2015 spending budget. This can be anticipated to make a shocking contribution to animal suffering across Europe: historically, 40% of the EU's total spending budget (55 billion euros – or 100 euros per citizen – per year) has served to prop up industrial farming by way of subsidies awarded beneath the Frequent Agricultural Policy (CAP).

In other words, I may possibly be an animal welfare campaigner as an EU citizen I nevertheless have no selection but to subsidise animal abuse (along with environmental destruction, climate alter and human well being hazards) by means of my taxes. In England exactly where I am presently living, the NGO Good friends of the Earth has calculated that 700 million pounds of the CAP can go towards industrial farming in just 1 year.

Not only does this disregard the developing concern of European citizens for the therapy of animals (as indicated by the Eurobarometer on animal welfare), but it also flies in the face of the EU's personal animal welfare precepts. The Lisbon Treaty states that “the Union and the Member States shall, given that animals are sentient beings, spend complete regard to the welfare specifications of animals”, and the European Convention for the protection of animals professes that ” animals ought to not endure discomfort, injury, worry or distress.”

The intense animal suffering brought on by industrial farming is effectively documented – so a lot so that it has motivated the EU to adopt animal welfare directives. Some of these (such as the “Pigs Directive”) stay largely ignored by a quantity of Member States (France sadly springs to thoughts), and there is a genuine enforcement challenge. But somehow this is par for the course: we campaign for improvements regulations come in producers resist alter we campaign for enforcement. So probably much more stupefying than these hurdles is the basic flaw in the EU's workings – sponsoring industrial farming on the 1 hand and regulating it on the other. Difficulty is, dollars speaks louder than the word of the law. And, at the danger of repeating myself, it is our dollars.

Our dollars is supporting an unfair technique whose economics would collapse without having it. The purpose I say the CAP “props up” industrial farming is that agricultural subsidies are 1 of the hidden fees of factory farms, enabling them to generate meals which is sold to customers at rates that fail to reflect correct production fees. When we get standard (i.e. industrially developed) meat, eggs or dairy at the supermarket, the cost we spend at the till is only element of our bill we make up for the more price by means of our taxes.

This more price incorporates subsidies on cereal for the feed of animals raised indoors (European Commission information shows that 58% of EU cereal production goes into animal feed), budgets for cleaning up the environmental harm brought on by factory farms (1 striking instance is the millions of euros that French nearby authorities, i.e. taxpayers, have been spending on clearing Brittany's beaches of tonnes of green algae resulting from the higher concentration of factory farms in the region), and the burden of eating plan-connected ailments on national well being systems (in the UK, numerous research have placed this about the six billion pound mark annually).

Much more especially, this is how the CAP favours industrial farming: it tends to make direct subsidy payments by hectare beneath its Single Payment Scheme (so that the biggest producers and landowners acquire the most dollars) it awards massive payments for cereal production and locations higher tariffs on cereal imports – except on soy, which is made use of for protein in animal feed (hence minimising input fees for industrial farmers who rely heavily on cereal and protein to feed the animals which they have taken off the land) it grants export subsidies to the processing business (growing reliance on less expensive industrially developed meat and dairy and encouraging dumping, which spells disaster for smaller farmers in creating nations) and it awards payments primarily based on historical receipt of subsidies and historical production quotas (hence perpetuating the flaws in the technique).

If key fees weren't hidden or externalised, the merchandise of industrial farming would have to be priced a lot much more hugely, and there could possibly then not be such a mass industry for them. In truth, the complete notion of factory farming (maximising output whilst minimising fees) would come to be lame and as a result useless to the massive corporations presently hogging the industry. In the meantime, folks are getting two chickens for £5 in a Tesco's or ordering a “bargain bucket” in a KFC, feeling they are finding a very good deal when what they are in fact finding is poor-top quality meat (3 occasions much more fat and a third significantly less protein than 40 years ago, with an added dose of antibiotic residue and Campylobacter) that is costing them – and the rest of us – dearly. Let's face it, there is no such issue as low-cost meat, milk or eggs – they are just a myth for naïve customers.

With 100 euros each and every, this is what we've collectively been getting for Europe: miserable living (and dying) circumstances for 90% of so-referred to as “meat” pigs, 90% of broiler chickens and more than two thirds of laying hens. Such is the extent of industrial farming. Oh, and there is 1 much more issue we've been paying for: farmers to breed and raise bulls for use in bullfighting. But with Green MEP Bas Eickhout's amendment to prohibit such subsidies due to be re-tabled, we have a opportunity to influence the European Parliament to finish agricultural subsidies on breeding and raising bulls for bullfighting.

If you are a European citizen who does not want their 100 euros spent on supporting the bullfighting business, please check out the “More than to you” web page at heleneodonnell.com to sign the petition – thank you.

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