©Pascal Xicluna/Min.Agri.Fr

Didier Guillaume, French Minister of Agriculture and Food, recently presented 15 new measures aiming to strengthen the fight against mistreatment of animals and to improve the well being of domestic, farm and pet animals.

“Two principals guide these announcements: that of ambition and that of rationality. Domestic animals are feeling beings; they have the right to respect and well being. But improving animal welfare must also take into account the economic reality of industry,” Guillaume said during his speech announcing the measures.
These measures concern firstly the improvement of animal welfare on farms.

A ministerial decree will be published in the following days, forbidding the castration of piglets without anesthesia, starting at the end of 2021. It will also require, for all pig farms to provide access to watering systems and “toy” materials that can be manipulated. Farmers will have one year to comply with the requirements before penalties will be imposed.

Banning the killing of male chicks in egg production through crushing was previously announced by Didier Guillaume Jan. 13 in Berlin, alongside the German Minister of Agriculture Julie Klöckner. In addition to the four million euros deployed since 2016 to develop a method of sexing chicken eggs before hatching, an additional €300,000 call for projects has also been announced in 2020 to test alternatives.

More broadly, a draft decree will soon be presented to move in the direction of banning all painful practices in farming and to require an animal welfare contact person in all farms.

Transport conditions will also be strengthened. Regulatory texts will be published in the first part of 2020 to increase inspections of long-distance transport (including through the use of certified private veterinarians). The goal is to ensure inspections of at least 5% of transport vehicles at animal loading. Penalties will be made more severe for cases of noncompliance, including lacking the appropriate documentation, using a non-approved vehicle, or the absence of a valid logbook.

Finally, measures will be taken to fight against the abandonment of pet animals. A regulatory text will very soon penalize the lack of identification for cats, as it is already the case of dogs. In order to prevent impulsive purchases of pets, the sale of animals in vehicles will be banned, and the sale of pet animals in trade shows and exhibitions will not be possible without the presence of a veterinarian.

Across these announcements, the Minister of Agriculture and Food confirmed the strong desire of the government to reconcile, to the greatest extent possible, the needs of animals, the expectations of society, and the work of farmers.