Others urged to follow Austria’s lead on animal welfare

A decision by Austria to prevent public funds being used in support of Third World businesses that keep animals in confined conditions, such as battery cages, veal crates and individual sow stalls, has been applauded by the Humane Society International (HSI).

The move, taken by the Austrian Ministry of Finance, was included in a recent updating of the country’s official strategy for the release of investment capital to Third World projects, through international finance institutions.

According to HSI, it’s a stance against poor animal welfare, as followed in some countries, which should be copied by other EU member states.

“We applaud the Austrian Ministry of Finance for taking this first step towards ending financial support for poor animal welfare housing systems in emerging and developing economies,” said HSI’s EU executive director, Joanna Swabe, adding that the adoption of similar policies by other member states will be “critical” to the raising of farm animal welfare standards worldwide.

The society has also responded to the World Bank’s current revising of its safeguard policies, relating to the criteria for future investments, by creating an online tool for people to write to the World Bank’s executive directors.

HSI wants people to call on the World Bank to include “meaningful animal welfare standards” in its revised policies, with the aim that such action will “preclude the most extreme confinement practices in agriculture”.

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