Information has been published on the Internet that in the European Union “a proposal has been submitted for the end of animal breeding for slaughter” and there will be “an end to eating meat”. Although there is indeed such a civic initiative, there is still a long way to go to implement its postulates.
“No more eating meat” – such a message based on false information about the alleged ban, which was to be introduced in Warsaw by President Rafał Trzaskowski, was already circulating on the Internet at the beginning of the year. Now it has returned in a changed form in the context of regulations that may be introduced by the European Union. “An application has been made for the end of animal breeding for slaughter in the EU. No more eating meat…” – was written in several entries that were published on Facebook and Twitter on April 11 and 12.
Some Internet users in the context of the alleged end of animal breeding for slaughter again referred to the untrue thesis that the European Union seeks to ban the consumption of meat and replace it with worms. “Leftist activists are calling for a ban on animal husbandry in the European Union and are fighting for ‘the end of the meat era’. Other delicacies are already being prepared for us… made of worms”; “There will be no meat, but there will be worms” – commented Internet users (original writing). In Konkret24 we wrote about it in February.
So we explain where this message came from and why entries about “the end of eating meat” in this context can be misleading.
Two almost identical articles
The authors of entries about “the end of breeding animals for slaughter” took this phrase from the titles of articles published on the Legaartis.pl website, known for disseminating false information. Screenshots of these articles, or just their headlines, were attached to their posts. First of these texts is from April 14, 2023 and is titled “End of Meat. Proposal has been made to end farming of animals for slaughter.” Second published April 18, 2023 and entitled “Application has been submitted for the end of animal farming for slaughter in the EU. No more eating meat…”.
In the first text it was written that “a group of activists proposes to ban animal farming in the EU and end the era of meat. (…) The European Commission has received a request to register a new citizens’ initiative at the EU level, which aims to end animal farming for purposes related to using them for human needs. Then the portal refers to the reports of “Nasz Dziennik”, which was to write that “the first step in achieving this goal would be to eliminate the slaughter of animals”.
“The civic initiative called ‘End The Slaughter Age’ is, according to the newspaper, another attempt to create a leftist utopia in Europe,” the author of the article continues, citing “Nasz Dziennik”. “As we can read, the initiators of the action – according to the authors of the article [w “Naszym Dzienniku”] – meat consumers are accused of destroying the planet. And in return, the newspaper claims, they propose that the EU should focus on cellular meat created in laboratories and vegetable dishes that are supposed to imitate meat” – he adds.
The second article, published four days later, is essentially a copy of the first article, despite the changed title. Apart from changing the title and the main photo, single sentences were cut out of it, but most of it was left unchanged. So the portal probably wanted to conquer the reach of its message in this way, and this procedure was successful, because Internet users shared one or the other article, even though they were really about the same thing.
Diary from last year
Both texts referred to the reports of “Nasz Dziennik”. As we checked, the Catholic-national daily did not publish any article in April 2023 regarding the “end of breeding animals for slaughter”. This article appeared in the newspaper in release from May 7-8, 2022, which is almost a year ago. The same sentences used in that newspaper article prove that the new texts of the Legaartis.pl website were based on it.
“Nasz Dziennik” in an article entitled “Food from the laboratory” wrote that “leftist activists demand the replacement of natural food with synthetic products”. Already then, he informed about the registration by the European Commission of a new EU citizens’ initiative “End The Slaughter Age”. The author of the material is very critical of this idea and quotes commentators who also speak negatively about the initiative. Including the then chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, and currently the Minister of Agriculture, Robert Telus, who said that “introducing a legal ban on eating meat or introducing regulations that will lead to the collapse of animal husbandry is an idea that must be fought hard”.
However, the text of the daily added important information that was omitted in the articles from April this year: “The creators of the initiative now have one year to collect at least one million signatures in at least 7 countries of the European Union. If they succeed, the European Commission will have to consider the application in this case”.
“A World Without Slaughterhouses” is a European Citizens’ Initiative
This omitted sentence is crucial in understanding why writing about “no more eating meat” at this stage can be misleading. The “End The Slaughter Age” initiative (Polish name: “World Without Slaughter”) is not an idea of the European Union, but the so-called European Citizens’ Initiative. This means that it was submitted by a group of citizens from at least seven Member States, and after meeting the formal criteria and being approved by the European Commission, it was registered. This does not mean that the EC decided to take up the initiative, but only started the formal process of obtaining support for a given idea.
Currently, signatures are being collected within the European Union for seven civic initiatives, including ensuring a dignified reception of migrants in Europe, wages in clothing and footwear companies, and achieving a tobacco-free environment by 2030.
The “World Without Slaughterhouse” Initiative registered On April 27, 2022, and on June 5, 2022, the period of collecting statements of support began. From that moment, at least one million such declarations should be collected in a year, and in addition, the minimum number of signatures set in EU documents must be reached in at least seven EU countries. For example, for Poland, this minimum limit is 36.66 thousand. declaration.
And so: according to recent data at the beginning of March 2023, the “World Without Slaughter” initiative collected 610.5 thousand. signatures (recall – at least one million is required), and the minimum number has been reached in six countries (at least seven is required). At this stage, the idea does not meet the requirements and if this situation does not change by June 5, 2023, the initiative will not be considered by the European Commission.
“The Commission is not obliged to propose legislation”
However, even if the initiative manages to collect one million signatures, nothing will be a foregone conclusion. First, the validity of statements of support will be verified by the competent authorities in each EU country. If all goes well, the initiative will be submitted to the European Commission. Then, the creators of the initiative will meet EC officials and present their idea to the European Parliament. Within six months of the submission of the initiative, the European Commission will give a final answer on the initiative. On official website however, it is made clear that “the Commission is under no obligation to propose legislation. Even if it responds positively to the initiative, it may consider that non-legislative action is more appropriate.” What’s more, the creators of the initiative cannot even appeal against the decision not to take action.
That is why writing about “the end of raising animals for slaughter” and, consequently, “the end of eating meat” in the context of an initiative that has not even passed the stage of collecting signatures, may be misleading. The European Commission registered this initiative because it met the formal conditions, but this does not mean that officials support the idea itself. Moreover, it still has not reached the required number of signatures, and even if it does, the European Commission may not implement the idea as a legal act. It is also incomprehensible to write about the initiative to ban animal husbandry at this point, as it was registered almost a year ago and since then nothing but the number of signatures within it has not changed.