International banking and credit firms are the latest targets of animal welfare activists with the release of a new report that finds they “are investing in agricultural companies that fail to meet the standards set for the humane treatment of farm animals in the European Union.”
The conclusions of the report have the Humane Society International (HSI), Compassion in World Farming and FOUR PAWS calling for EU animal welfare standards to guide agricultural investment policies for EU-supported institutions.
In one example, the report found a China pig producer received nearly $30 million (U.S.) in investments while continuing to confine the majority of its breeding pigs in gestation stalls.
In recent years, the EU has made progress in improving animal welfare standards, including prohibiting farmers from using certain systems such as battery cages for laying hens and gestation stalls for sows. The animal welfare groups say progress should be encouraged elsewhere, and certainly should not be “undermined” by EU investments.
Chetana Mirle, director of farm animal welfare for HSI, explained: “Money from EU citizens has no business winding up in the pockets of farmers who don’t meet EU standards for the treatment of animals. EU farm animal welfare policies were not enacted to merely push these unacceptable practices out of the EU, but to reduce animal suffering and answer consumer demands for farm animal welfare.”
Gabi Paun, director of campaigns with FOUR PAWS, said: “We uncovered support for facilities with poor animal welfare standards abroad and are asking investment institutions to adhere to EU farm animal welfare standards.”
Dil Peeling, director of campaigns at Compassion in World Farming, said: “When the EU has taken the democratic decision to curb the worst excesses of intensive farming, but European money is used to drive animal misery elsewhere, those lending institutions involved fail the EU, its citizens and, most of all, the animals trapped in the systems they fund. These institutions need to change their policies now.”