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The German Government’s Animal Welfare Policy Package Moves Forward

Present © yanterric –
Although Federal Minister of Agriculture Ilse Aigner at first expressed only vague objectives for the animal welfare policy package, the debate has since picked up momentum from parties on all sides.

The German Farmer’s Association continues to defend all of its current practices, relying on the old myth that one can only earn a living with healthy, happy animals. Unfortunately, the Farmer´s Association´s low pricing indicates the exact opposite: their profits are made mostly by overbreeding and crippling animals, and keeping them in severely overcrowded sheds. Furthermore, the Farmer’s Association still advocates the extremely painful practice of horse branding, by arguing that a ban on branding would offend thousands of horse breeders and millions of people who feel committed to their horses.

The New Minister of Agriculture of Lower Saxony, Gert Lindemann, has proven surprisingly open to at least some of the central animal welfare issues. Our campaigns against the beak searing of laying hens and against the tail docking of pigs, for example, are gaining ground: Lindemann is demanding a ban on these practices by 2015*, and stated that he “questions amputations of any kind”. In addition, Lindemann has abandoned the blocking of a “real” battery cage ban (including colony cages), and is calling for “better”  (“less cruel” would be more accurate) conditions for the rearing and transportation of animals. Lindemann’s opposition remains critical of these demands, and is just as curious as we are to find out whether Lindmann will actually be able to institute reforms – we will certainly be observing the future development of these issues carefully, instead of assigning credit where credit might not yet be due.

In the meantime, the number of people who have signed our petition for “real” welfare policy – as opposed to the sham policy package that currently exists – is growing steadily. If you are a German resident, please sign and share our petition with others to help us counterbalance the lobbyists of the Farmer’s Association & Co. To support animal welfare in your home and personal life, please read more here.

* Ideally, we would like the changes to be implemented much faster. But we have to be realistic. Click here if you are interested in reading more about the challenges that face our End Beak Searing campaign. (Paper in German language only)

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