INTERNATIONAL banking and credit firms are the latest targets of animal welfare activists, according to a newly released report that finds that 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 report concludes that Humane Society International, Compassion in World Farming and FOUR PAWS will call for EU animal welfare standards to guide agricultural investment policies for EU-supported institutions.
In recent years, the EU has instituted new 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 Humane Society International, 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."
In one example, the report says a China pig producer received nearly $30 million in investments while continuing to confine the majority of its breeding pigs in gestation stalls.
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, added, "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."