The EU has improved conditions for animals where national governments have failed to act, and its influence is felt beyond European borders. The EU brought in a blanket ban on animal testing for cosmetics; banned the import of products newly tested on animals; and suspended the use of toxic bee-killing pesticides.
In this case the UK is showing leadership to the rest of Europe and we could expect standards there to decline if we were to leave the EU. In several instances the UK led the way and EU law-makers followed our lead – an example is the way the EU has brought in bans on cruel factory farming practices:
The UK banned sow stalls in 1999, EU ban followed in 2013.
The UK banned veal crates in 1990, EU ban followed in 2007.
The UK banned animal testing for cosmetics in 1998, the EU in 2009.
In February 2013 the European Commission began infraction proceedings against 9 EU Member States for failing to be compliant with the ban. By January 2014 this number had fallen to 6 non-compliant Member States.
Catch up on an online Q&A with Green MEP Keith Taylor, Vice President of the European Parliament Animal Welfare intergroup from the 13th April about the EU and Animal Welfare. Event details and link here.