Next week in the European Parliament plenary session MEPs will vote on their opinion on Minimum Standards for the Protection of Farm Rabbits*. The result of the vote is likely to call for the introduction welfare standards for farm rabbits.
Paul Brannen MEP, Labour's European Parliament spokesperson Animal Welfare spokesperson said:
“This is a very important and emotive topic for many UK citizens. I have received tens of thousands of messages calling for the implementation of minimum standards for farm rabbits across the EU.
“I agree wholeheartedly with campaigners call for the introduction of such standards. Currently in the EU farm rabbits are typically caged and provided with an area of less than the size of two ordinary A4 sheets of paper per rabbit, with no opportunities to exercise and express their natural behaviour. This should rightly be a cause for concern. In addition, there is a high rate of disease and mortality amongst farm rabbits owing to factors such as infectious diseases that occur with high frequency in unsuitable cramped cage system.
“I also believe, as proposed by the International Finance Corporation, that improved animal welfare in general can enable a business to enhance efficiency and profitability. Unless we have minimum welfare standards for farmed rabbits there will be no incentive to improve the conditions in which farmed rabbits are kept across the EU.
“Labour MEPs will support the report, and we will vote in favour of the amendment that legislative proposals on minimum standards for the protection of farm rabbits should be drawn up.”
*Please note, MEPs will not be voting on new legislation, rather will be asking the European Commission to bring forward a legislative proposal on minimal standards for farm rabbits.