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Lobbying MEPs

There are several different EU institutions responsible for its legislation: the European Commission, the Council of Ministers, and the European Parliament.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are your representatives in Europe. They debate and pass legislation on issues affecting our daily lives, including animal welfare, and Directives regulating scientific procedures on animals. MEPs also have the power to approve appointment of the European Commission, question these Commissioners on various topics and decide upon the EU budget. MEPs are elected on a regional basis, which means that each region is represented by several MEPs, for instance, the East Midlands region is represented by 5 MEPs.

Written and Oral Questions

Your MEP has the power to question Parliament and members of the European Commission. The European Commission is responsible for the generation and implementation of legislation and so lobbying them is another way you can put pressure on the EU to adopt good animal welfare laws. Your MEP can raise a Written or Oral Question at the European Parliament and ask a question of the European Commission. You can ask your MEP to question the Commission on their past actions or on the future intentions. To which the Commission has to reply in full.

You can contact all of the MEPs representing your region when lobbying MEPs. For help and advice about writing letters to MEPs, visit our Lobbying Toolkit.

Exercising Your Right of Petition

As a citizen of the EU you also have the opportunity of sending a petition to the European Parliament to voice your concern. You can use this method to deal with a variety of subjects: either a matter of general concern to you; a complaint about an issue or you can ask the Parliament to react to a matter of public interest. A guide explaining how to lay out, structure and submit your petition is available from the European Parliament’s UK Office. Once received, petitions are passed on to the Committee on Petitions, who decide if the petition falls within the guidelines of the EU. If your petition is deemed acceptable, its contents will be considered and the Committee will decide what suitable action should be taken in response to it.

Other Ways to Lobby in Europe

The European Commission is another European institution which citizens can lobby in pursuing improvements in animal welfare laws. As the initiators of European Union law, it is prudent to consider writing to the European Commission, and in particular to one of the 20 Commissioners who are each responsible for the different Directorate Generals. Each Directorate General is responsible for different areas of policy and is headed by the appropriate Commissioner. The relevant DGs which affect animal welfare issues are as follows: Trade, Enterprise, Agriculture, Environment, Research, Fisheries, Health and Consumer Protection, Regional policy and Enlargement. Learn more about the individual Commissioners and what each Directorate General is responsible for.

Continue the Pressure

Once you have made contact with your MEP try and follow it up with a letter. You can either thank them for their effort or say how disappointed you are that they failed to supply the answers you were looking for.

Don’t just let the matter go, if you’re not satisfied say so – ask your MEP to try a different approach if you weren’t satisfied the first time around.

When you have written to your MEP you should expect a response in writing. We would be grateful if you could send us a copy of your MEP’s letter so we can monitor which MEPs are genuinely concerned with animal welfare issues in Europe. We can also write to the MEP to ask for further information or put pressure on them if we wish to seek further answers or action. If you’re still not happy with your MEP’s response to your concerns, or think you could be more persuasive if you met them face to face, then why not arrange a meeting with them? In a meeting you can cover a range of different animal welfare issues which concern you. It is important to keep up the pressure so that your MEP knows what issues concern you and can speak on your behalf in the European Parliament.