New findings from the EU's Eurobarometer service indicate that a substantial 84% of European consumers are in favour of stronger safeguards for the well-being of farmed animals within their respective countries.
Of those that called for stronger protective measures, some 52% said that such measures were 'very important', with 39% answering that they were 'somewhat important'. Just 1% answered that they were 'not at all important'.
The highest proportion of those saying that protective animal welfare measures were important was in Luxembourg and Sweden (both 98%), and Finland (97%). This majority is slightly lower in Romania (76%), Bulgaria and Slovakia (both 82%).
Some 83% express support for imposing restrictions on the transportation duration of animals, the study, Attitudes of Europeans towards animal welfare, found.
Elsewhere, a resounding 90% of Europeans assert that farming and breeding practices must adhere to fundamental ethical standards, while just under three quarters (74%) of those surveyed endorse enhanced measures to ensure the welfare of pets (i.e. cats and dogs).
The EU's Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals, which was implemented in 2012, has instigated a series of actions to improve animal welfare standards in recent years, including a ban on conventional cages for laying hens and improvements in animal transport.
However, an evaluation report carried out last year found that despite these improvements, there is currently still a 'sub-optimal level of welfare of animals in the EU', Eurobarometer said in its report.
Under the Farm To Fork Strategy, the European Commission has revealed its plan to put forth a revision of EU animal welfare regulations by the conclusion of 2023.
This revision is designed to achieve several objectives, including expanding the reach of animal welfare legislation, harmonising it with the most up-to-date scientific insights and public preferences, and streamlining enforcement measures to guarantee an elevated standard of animal welfare.
You can read the full report here.