MEPs, Oscars and animal welfare champions
Here in Brussels, the capital of Europe, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and a lot of other organizations spend a lot of time telling politicians what they are doing wrong. You can’t blame IFAW for that – it’s a long list! But that makes it all the more rewarding to recognize someone for doing something really well.
That’s why IFAW agreed to sponsor the first ever Animal Welfare Award at the MEP Awards. It was a chance to highlight some of the tremendous work done by MEPs as advocates for animals – often in the face of fierce lobbying by corporations and foreign countries.
The winner was Dan Jørgensen, a Danish MEP from the S&D group. He is also the president of the Intergroup for Animal Welfare in the European Parliament and the driving force behind a campaign called 8 Hours which seeks to limit the amount of time live animals can be crammed into pens and onto trucks and transported across Europe.
On winning the award he said:
This award is symbolic as it actually recognises the importance animals play in our lives and how we are responsible for maximising their welfare. The European Treaty governing our legislation recognises animals as sentient beings and I and my fellow MEPs will continue to ensure that the Commission recognises this and acts to improve the current situation and show that Europe really leads the way.”
The award was presented by our very own Barbara Slee, IFAW EU Political Officer. Take a look at the overview video below.
The selection process for the award is simple. Anyone and everyone can nominate an MEP for one or more of the 19 categories along with a short text of why they feel that MEP should win. Then a selection panels takes all of the nominees and creates a shortlist of three candidates. This would have been difficult for animal welfare as there were numerous worthy candidates. MEPs themselves then vote on who should win the award.
This year over 400 MEPs voted to determine the winners.
The most amusing part of the evening was how almost every MEP compared winning the award with winning an Oscar. The good thing is that MEP Jørgensen didn’t win his award because of an act, he won because he’s a passionate believer in animal welfare.