EU involvement in animal welfare: tell ’em what you think

The EU has a fine track record in extending its reach to areas which are none of its business, and an excellent example is its policies on animal welfare.  EU competences are defined by the Treaties, and many people think that the Treaties provide little basis for the EU in this area.  But the Commission is a past master at “interpreting” the provisions in a very wide way indeed (for example when they insisted that the infamous Working Time Directive was not, as you might have thought, an employment measure, but a Health’n’Safety measure, and therefore was not covered in the UK by John Major’s Maastricht Opt-Out).
This time it’s animal welfare, which of course is motherhood and apple pie.  We all support animal welfare, don’t we?  Yes of course we all do, but that doesn’t mean we should blindly support EU involvement in animal welfare.  There are some legitimate animal welfare areas for the EU — such as enforcing the rules on cross-border transportation of live horses — but there are other areas where they will do more harm than good.
For farm animals, EU legislation could create a whole new layer of cost, bureaucracy and box-ticking.  For pets (I refuse to call them “companion animals”), we could see EU rules in your kitchen, on your hearthrug, or wherever Fido sleeps.  But perhaps the biggest threat is the EU’s attempt to start regulating the welfare of wild animals.  We have a big enough task in the UK in getting the repeal of the hated and discredited Hunting Act, without having to navigate our way around EU rules as well.  The EU’s current power-grab in this area is a real threat to hunting.
Now the opportunity: the EU has launched an on-line public consultation on its proposals, at  So they’ve asked your opinion.  Go ahead.  Tell ’em what you think!

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