French Senate to finally start discussing animal welfare friendly agriculture – EURACTIV.com
The French Senate’s Economic Affairs Committee is due to examine on Wednesday May 12 a report on the draft law for ethical, socially just and animal welfare respectful agriculture following recent criticism of its alleged inaction on animal welfare. EURACTIV France reports.
Although the French civil code recognizes animals as sentient beings since 2015, the protection of animal welfare has not changed accordingly, according to a bill tabled last month by Green Senator Esther Benbassa. The Senate Economic Affairs Committee will examine a report by Senator Marie-Christine Chauvin (LR) on this subject on Wednesday 12 May.
More than a billion animals are slaughtered in France each year, according to the senators behind the bill for ethical, socially fair and respectful animal welfare breeding. 80% of these animals come from intensive farming, that is to say from an agrifood industry that respects neither farmers, nor animals, nor consumers, according to the authors of the text.
The report condemns a model of “factory farms” with “totally intolerable” breeding and slaughtering practices. Factory farming is believed to be responsible for “extreme behavioral disorders” in animals and substandard meat quality.
Towards an agriculture mindful of animal welfare
Supporting farmers in the transition to ethical farming and slaughtering is also crucial, according to the drafters.
We want to “promote a model of rural agriculture that favors local food and respects nature”, an agriculture that “cares about animal welfare but also its farmers”, as well as a “model that favors circuits. short. [and] subsidizes local slaughter, ”they said. This “quality agriculture” would also be marked by greater transparency for consumers and “greater respect for the natural cycles of the animal”, according to the senators.
The bill proposed by the Greens provides for making compulsory, from 2025, the “gradual” implementation of exterior access systems for farm animals as well as maximum density thresholds.
The authors also wish to limit the duration of transport of animals in France to eight hours – a duration which could be increased to twelve hours in the event of prior authorization of a veterinarian. Another measure aimed at “putting an end to practices causing animal suffering” is the ban, from 2022, of “the elimination […] live male chicks and female ducklings ”- except in the event of an epizootic.
Senators also called for the creation of a “transition assistance fund” to help farmers move towards more ethical farming systems that respect animal welfare.
The Senate criticized for animal abuse and denunciation
However, there is still a long way to go to achieve these ambitions.
A Senate representative contacted by EURACTIV said the Senate proposal “partially overlaps” with that of the Assembly, meaning it would not be on the Senate’s agenda “at this stage”.
However, the upper house has also been criticized for passing an amendment in March to the so-called “Global Security Act” aimed at increasing penalties for “unlawful trespassing” on farms, which are now punishable by law. fine of € 45,000 and a fine of € 45,000. three years in prison.
While Republican Senator Guillaume Chevrolier (LR), cited by France Bleu, said such an amendment should protect farmers from intrusion and malicious acts, it would also risk criminalizing whistleblowers, said animal rights group L214, which referred to the results of her investigation which she published on May 5, revealing the shocking conditions in a sow slaughterhouse in Brittany.
In an article published by The world On Tuesday, May 11, academics also denounced the amendment, saying whistleblowers are acting in the “public interest” by exposing animal abuse and “malfunctions” of some farms, and therefore should be protected.