Public money is used by Germany and other EU member states to support the construction of huge intensive farm animal operations in third countries – either via international finance institutions like the International Finance Corporation (IFC) or by export credit guarantees that are granted (including by the German government) also for battery cage facilities.

Facilities receiving this support may not even comply with EU animal welfare regulations, and are usually established by large, market leading companies in countries like Turkey, Ukraine or Russia. Some of these facilities started exporting powdered eggs and other products to the EU, a fact that has also sparked protests by EU farmers who feel subjected to increased pricing pressure and unfair competition.

How can this situation be remedied so that public financial tools are only used for at least more animal-friendly housing systems? This question was the basis for a round-table conference hosted by Humane Society International (HSI), Four Paws and Albert Schweitzer Stiftung on the 16th of March, 2015, in Berlin, Germany. Nicolas Entrup, Shifting Values, represented HSI and gave the keynote speech. Representatives of all relevant German ministries, members of parliament, as well as various stakeholders attended the event that was held under the Chatham House Rule.

The German State Ministers of Agriculture had already directed very clear resolutions to the Federal Government to grant export credit guarantees only to such farm animal operations that comply with or exceed national and EU standards, and to actively promote binding animal welfare criteria within international finance institutions that shall apply to the granting of investment capital to farm animal operations.

Now it’s up to the Federal Government to live up to these resolutions and to actively lead the way towards binding animal welfare criteria for international finance institutions and export credit guarantees.