Find below the second issue of Animal Law Europe’s newsletter, which covers April – June 2021.
Welcome to our second quarterly newsletter!
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This quarter’s research note is about the labeling of animal source food in the EU. In 2020, the European Commission announced the creation of an “EU animal welfare label” as part of the EU Green Deal. This research note explores the different regulatory pathways possible in EU law for the creation of such a label.
I am slated to give a series of talks in September and October, including at the Canadian and U.S. Animal Law Conferences.
Make sure to check the news section of Animal Law Europe’s website if you’d like to be updated on upcoming talks, interviews, publication, etc.
We are immensely grateful to Animal Charity evaluators for selecting us as a grantee of the 2021 ACE Movement Grant, alongside organizations who do such great work for animals. This grant will allow us to conduct a comprehensive legal analysis of EU Farm Animal Welfare legislation, ahead of the 2023 revision. Animal Law Europe will also organize an event in Brussels, Belgium to present the report.
1. Animal Law News
Laws and regulations
Regulation 853/2004 on specific hygiene requirements for food of animal origin (“Hygiene Regulation”) was amended through a Delegated Act adopted on April 12 to allow the on-farm slaughter of animals.
Regulation (EU) 2016/429 on transmissible animal diseases (“Animal Health Law”) entered into force on April 21.
This new legislation aims at improving the enforcement of EU animal health regulations. The new “Animal Health Law” consolidates a significant number of legal acts into a single one, and sets standards through delegated acts (decrees). An important aspect of this regulation is that it might provide the blueprint for the upcoming animal welfare legislation, which currently has many of the same shortcomings as the animal health legislation before its revision – fragmented, out-of-date standards, few enforcement mechanisms. The EU executive might consolidate current directives and regulations on animal welfare into a single act, and regulate standards by way of delegated acts. In that respect, the extent to which the new Animal Health Law will improve standards and enforcement will be an important factor in influencing the reform of EU animal welfare legislation.
Fish (fishing): C–733/19, April 15 2021 (Action for annulment) (Press Release in English): The European Court of Justice dismissed the action brought by the Netherlands against the E.U. ban on fishing by vessels using electric pulse trawls, which passed in 2019. The Court dismissed the Netherlands’ action for annulment, ruling that “the EU legislature has a wide discretion in this field and is not obliged to base its legislative choice on scientific and technical opinions only.”
The European Commission launched two infringement procedures and sent one reasoned opinion regarding Member States’ breaches to EU wildlife legislation (Birds and Habitats Directives). The European Commission further launched a series of infringement procedures regarding the regulation on invasive alien species, and one infringement procedure for failure to comply with rules on by-catch during fishing activities.
See the list of key infringement procedures decisions for June for more details. For more on infringement procedures, see this Twitter thread from June 2020.
Farmed animals for fur and fiber purposes: Communication on the EU Strategy for Sustainable Textiles (deadline: August 4)
Farm animals (cattle) / Trade : Proposal for a Regulation on the Union tariff rate quota for High Quality Beef from Paraguay (deadline: August 14)
Farm animals / Labeling: Proposal for a Directive on the EU Marketing Standards for Agricultural Products (deadline: August 31)
Make sure to check Animal Law Europe’s Guide to Public Consultations to find out what public consultations are and how to use them to advance the interests of animals in EU law.
- Estonia – Fur animals (racoons and minks): The Estonian Parliament adopted a bill amending the Animal Protection Act and the Nature Conservation Act to prohibit “the keeping, breeding and reproduction of animals solely or principally for the purpose of fur production.” The law results in a ban on the farming of racoons and minks, making Estonia the first Baltic country to prohibit fur farming.
- Italy – Private ownership of exotic animals: Following the entry into force of the Animal Health Law, the Italian senate adopted a law banning the import and private ownership of wild and exotic animals on April 20, 2021. The ban will enter into force by May 8, 2022.
- Germany – Farm animals (egg-laying hens): Germany amended the Animal Protection Act to ban the grinding of male chicks. The amendment will enter into force in 2022. This decision follows a 2019 decision by the Federal Supreme Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht), which ruled that the killing of male chicks was contrary to the constitutional objective of animal protection (Article 20a of the German Basic Law) where alternative to such killing, such as in ovo sexing, existed.
- The Netherlands – Companion and farm animals: The Dutch Senate approved an amendment to the Animal Act requiring that companion animals and farmed animals must be provided “living conditions that resemble their natural environment” by granting animals more space by 2023. The amendment further states that “keeping animals in a certain farming system” may no longer be a “reasonable purpose” for harming them. The Dutch Ministry of Agriculture is currently conducting an impact assessment in preparation for the drafting of the decree.
- The Netherlands – Wildlife: The Council of State, the highest administrative Court in the Netherlands, ruled against the province of South Holland, who appealed a decision denying a permit to shoot thousands of wigeons, on the basis of the Birds Directive.
- France – Wildlife: The French Council of State, the highest administrative court, ruled that the use of glue trap for the purpose of capturing birds in certain regions of France was illegal, on the basis of the Birds Directive. This ruling follows a preliminary ruling handed down by the European Court of Justice earlier this year.
- Spain – Companion animals (dogs): Spain is on the brink of amending its breed-specific legislation. The amendment would regulate ownership based on individual canine behavior and no longer discriminate against entire breeds. The new law would also include new rules on training breeders.
- Norway – Farmed animals: Norway considers excluding cruel industries from the nationally-owned Norwegian investment portfolio. The Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs of the Norwegian Parliament reviewed the The Norwegian Oil Fund’s ethical commitments and recognized violations of animal welfare as potential “serious violations of fundamental ethical norms.” The Norwegian Parliament is thus considering excluding companies that do not comply with EU animal welfare legislation, the OIE, and ISO standards from the Norwegian Oil Fund. The Norwegian Oil Fund fund is said to be one of the world’s largest shareholders in factory farming.
- Italy – Constitutional Reform recognizing animal protection as a constitutional objective: The Italian Senate approved a draft constitutional bill that would make the protection of animals and of the environment a constitutional objective. The drafting of the bill draws from Article 13 of the EU Constitutional Treaty (Treaty on the Functioning of the EU). The adoption by the Senate is the first step towards the adoption of the text, which will have to be adopted, a year from now, by the lower legislative chamber.
- France – Whistleblower Protection: The French Constitutional Council struck an amendment to the “Global Security Law,” which increased the sentencing for trespassing offenses on farms, including those committed with the purpose of providing information to the public.
Global Animal Law News
- Canada restricts animal testing: On April 14, the federal government proposed an amendment to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. The amendment includes the recognition of the necessity to reduce reliance on animal testing and encourages the promotion of alternatives to animal testing.
- Israel bans the sale of fur for fashion purposes, becoming the first country to do so. The Israeli government signed an amendment to the Animal Act (הצעת חוק צער בעלי חיים (הגנה על בעלי חיים) on June 9, 2021 prohibiting the sale of fur for fashion purposes. The ban will come into force in November 2021. The use of fur will remain permitted for research, teaching, and for religious purposes – such as for the use of fur to make Schtreimel hats. Israel had already banned fur farming in 1976.
- New Zealand bans the export of live animals: On April 14, the Ministry of Agriculture announced a ban on the export of live animals by sea to enter into force in 2023. The announcement followed a review of the practice of transporting live animals.
- The United Kingdom government introduced a bill (“Animal Sentience Bill“) that recognizes vertebrate animals as sentient beings in domestic law and establishes an Animal Sentience Committee (ASC) composed of experts whose mission is to ensure that the government policy considers animal sentience. More information on the bill here.
- The United States of America (USA)
- Maine and Hawaii ban animal testing for cosmetics.
- Nevada bans cages for egg-laying hens and the sale of eggs coming from hens in cages
- New York State Court agrees to hear the Habeas Corpus case of an animal
2.1. Law & Policy
- The European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions and the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development held a joint hearing on the European Citizens’ Initiative “End the Cage Age,” spearheaded by Compassion in World Farming (Olga Kikou), and which gathered 1.4 million signatures petitioning the E.U. to ban the use of cages in animal agriculture.
- The European parliament held a workshop on the transport of live animals which was organized by the Policy Department and the ANIT Committee Secretariat. It included four presentations dealing with the “particular welfare needs in the transport of unweaned animals and pregnant females,” “the animal welfare on sea vessels,” “the welfare in the transport of aquatic animals,” and finally “the welfare during the transport in third countries.” The digest of this workshop can be found by clicking on the link below.
- Erica Lyman, Clinical Professor and Director of the Global Law Alliance for Animals and the Environment, and Senior Staff Attorney Nick Fromherz, proposed an on-demand Continuing Legal Education (CLE) on Structural Legal Collaboration to Combat Wildlife Trafficking. In this CLE, they measure the Lacey Act’s potential to serve as a model national approach in the global fight against wildlife trafficking.
2.3. Education and Career Advancement
- The Åbo Akademi (Turku, Finland), in partnership with Open University, is starting a new on-line program in Animal Law open to non-lawyers. The program consists of nine courses (45 ECTS).
- Registrations are still open for Lewis & Clark Law School’s Center for Animal Law Studies Summer Program.
- Michigan State University is seeking an Animal Law Fellow to work at the College of Law. The Animal Law Fellow will research and write articles, be a guest lecturer, as well as serving as a guide and mentor for MSU law students. The required degree for this job is a doctorate.
- Vermont Law School (USA) has created an Animal Law Program, which will be directed by Prof. Delcianna Winders.
- Birmingham City University School of Law (UK) will offer a course on animals in environmental law taught by Prof. Iyan Offor.
- The Sciences Po Undergraduate College (France) will open its first Animal Ethics course, open to students in the Bachelor of Science and Arts, co-taught by Alice Di Concetto and Prof. Michel Tarpin.
2.4. Podcasts and Replays
- Our Hen House’s Animal Law Podcast with Mariann Sullivan: Check out the new episodes.
- 80 000 Hour Podcast with Rob Wiblin: Leah Garcés, the President of Mercy for Animals, on turning adversaries into allies to change the chicken industry.
3.1. Law & Policy
- The European Commission (DG Sante) published an evaluation of the 2015 – 2020 Animal Welfare Strategy, which concludes that the Strategy did not meet its objectives.
- The European Parliament Research Services published a report on EU farm animal welfare legislation and animal source food labeling. This report will inform the “animal welfare on the farm” report by the European Parliament’s AGRI Committee. The report concludes that EU FAWL has had little effect on improving farmed animal welfare, and further underlines the general consensus in the public institutions and the industry for the implementation of a voluntary EU animal welfare label.
- The European Court of Auditors published a special report on greening on the “Common Agricultural Policy and Climate.” The report concludes that even though animal agriculture is responsible for “around half of emissions from agriculture,” “the CAP does not seek to limit livestock numbers; nor does it provide incentives to reduce them. The CAP market measures include promotion of animal products, the consumption of which has not decreased since 2014.”
- The International Association of Lawyers (UIA) published a special issue of its magazine, Juriste International, on animal law. The issue includes articles in English, Spanish, and French.
- March 2021 Special Issue of Scandinavian Studies in Law: “Animal Law and Animal Rights”
- Eva Bernet Kempers, Neither Persons nor Things: The Changing Status of Animals in Private Law, the European Review of Private Law
- Debbie Legge and Annaig Nicol, “Ecocide and Animals: extracting a framework for discussion from the work of Polly Higgins, Damien Short and Nigel South” Policy Brief No. 19, May 2021, Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance.
- Charlotte Blattner, Global Migration Crises, Nonhuman Animals, and the Role of Law in Like an Animal: Critical Animal Studies Approaches to Borders, Displacement, and Othering, Natalie Khazaal and Núria Almiron (eds.) (2021).
3.3. Call for Contributions
- The Global Journal of Animal Law is accepting abstracts until August 1 for its special Issue: “International Law and Animal Health and Protection: Persistent Themes, News Prospects for Change
- The Coloquios de Derecho Animal is accepting applications (in Spanish) from researchers, professionals, and students until July 3, 2021