Improve animal welfare in agriculture

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Lower Saxony's Minister of Agriculture presents a 38-point animal protection plan

The Lower Saxony state government has caught up on the liberation strike. After the black and yellow state government was repeatedly accused of responsibility for the shortcomings in livestock and poultry farming in recent months, the Lower Saxony Minister of Agriculture Gert Lindemann (CDU) has now presented a 38-point plan to improve animal welfare in agriculture .

He had started with the goal of significantly improving the housing conditions for farm animals and he remains "firmly determined to achieve this," emphasized the Lower Saxony Minister for Food, Agriculture, Consumer Protection and Regional Development on Wednesday in Hanover. Lindemann took over from his predecessor Astrid Grotelüschen (CDU) in December 2010 after having been criticized several times for grievances in various poultry farms in which her husband or family was involved.

Implementation of the animal welfare plan in the next seven years The Lower Saxony Minister of Agriculture now wants to start implementing his 38 point animal welfare plan this year and will gradually complete it over the next seven years. In the concept for improving animal welfare in agriculture, the twelve most important groups of animals from chicks to dairy cows are taken into account and measures are shown that are intended to improve the housing conditions. For example, the controversial shortening of beaks in turkeys is to be banned from 2018 at the latest, and a corresponding ban on laying hens should apply as early as 2016. By 2014, the turkey farm should also be redesigned so that diseases on the feet of the animals are avoided as far as possible. In addition, according to current plans, sawing off horns in calves without anesthesia is prohibited from 2013. In addition, the cutting of tails in piglets is to be banned for pig farmers from 2016. The Lower Saxony Minister of Agriculture rated his plan as "the most extensive animal protection activity in agricultural livestock farming in Germany". Lindemann emphasized that the times given are maximum specifications, and faster implementation is of course possible at any time.

Further development of animal protection in agriculture necessary Lower Saxony, as the country with the most farm animals, "has the task of moving forward with the further development of animal protection", emphasized Lindemann. The Minister of Agriculture does not mention that Lower Saxony has so far lagged behind environmental and animal protection rather than being at the forefront of development. According to animal rights activists, the state has a lot of catching up to do, which is now to be remedied by the 38-point plan. But the critics are particularly thorny in the long time frame. They demand faster action because, in their opinion, many companies still have unacceptable circumstances to this day. However, instead of immediate decisions, the individual measures are now being elaborated in seven specialist groups and one steering group, with representatives of organic farmers, the animal welfare association, science, authorities and churches also being involved, as Minister of Agriculture Lindemann emphasized.

Critics complain about the timeframe of the submitted animal protection plan Even if the minister of agriculture emphasizes that he is "a persuader" and "prevention tactics (...) will not be tolerated", there can be doubts about the success of the animal protection plan. In Lower Saxony, industrial livestock farming has particularly strong political backing and in the past drastic cuts have always been prevented. So not only does Lindemann consider himself the spokesman for the farmers, but the Lower Saxony Minister of the Environment, Hans-Heinrich Sander, has often felt more committed to the interests of industrial agriculture than to environmental protection. Lindemann also made an effort to reassure the farmers from the start when he presented his 38-point plan. The Minister for Agriculture emphasized that this animal welfare plan would not push livestock farming abroad or make economic impossible, but would improve it. (fp)

Read about agriculture and animal welfare:
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Image: Axel Hoffmann /

Author and source information

Video: Farm animal welfare: its concept, assessment and relation to animal production and human health


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