My vote for this resolution basically underlines my agreement with all measures that would enhance the welfare and living conditions of rabbits being reared commercially for their meat. However it is subject to the reservation that I disagree completely that there should be common European legislation to regulate the commercial rearing of rabbits. Experience in other sectors has shown that such regulation ends up reinforcing the commercial advantage of larger scale enterprises to the detriment of smaller units. Especially in the smaller member states, many of the smaller units are traditionally run on a family basis. Their operations follow inherited practices. The markets they service are basically families living in the neighbourhood of the farm. Obligating such enterprises to follow new regulations while submitting them to new controls would decrease their competitiveness. It is unacceptable to place these small scale operations in such a situation. Their market is already experiencing spasmodic shrinkages as well as unfair competition, including from non-EU sources. Given that from a health perspective, the consumption of rabbit meat is to be recommended, rather than consider further regulation of the small scale sector, what we need are new measures, national and European, to promote their activities.
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