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March 3, 2016

Public Financing Continues to Support Farm Animal Mistreatment, says HSI Report

EU-banned battery hen cages, sow stalls being funded abroad by international banks and Member States’ export credit agencies

Humane Society International

  • Hens in a row of battery cages. HSI

Despite growing opposition, international banks and export credit agencies of European Union Member States continue to support agricultural companies that fail to meet the EU’s farm animal welfare standards. That is the conclusion of a report [PDF] released by Humane Society International today.

This new report, “International Finance Institutions, Export Credit Agencies and Farm Animal Welfare”, follows an analysis HSI issued in 2013 that first highlighted this issue to policy makers and the public. However, these institutions and agencies have provided new loans or insurances to these same or similar companies since 2013, often without adequately addressing their animal welfare violations.

Examples include Nyva Pereyaslavshchyny, one of the largest pork producers in Ukraine, which recently received more than US$50 million from the World Bank Group and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to support further expansion, despite continuing to confine large numbers of sows in restrictive stalls where they can’t even turn around for nearly their entire lives. The continual confinement of sows in stalls violates EU animal welfare values and laws.

Other examples include:

  • In 2014, the German Export Credit Agency provided 14.5 million Euros worth of insurance to a company exporting poultry cages to Ukraine.
  • In 2014, the International Finance Corporation funded a project that is expected to help Shandong Hekangyuan Poultry Breeding company become China’s second largest duck producer and one of the largest broiler producers, without providing any information about the company’s compliance with animal welfare standards.

Tell the World Bank to update its animal welfare policies.

The World Bank safeguard policies, which set the standard for public sector lending across the globe, are currently in the final stages of review. Since EU Member States are collectively the World Bank’s largest shareholder, HSI is urging EU policy makers to push for the inclusion of meaningful animal welfare standards within the safeguard policies, thereby moving farm animal production globally away from extreme confinement and other abusive practices.

Joanna Swabe, Ph.D., EU executive director for HSI, explained: “The World Bank Safeguard Policies have an impact, not just on the Bank’s projects, but on development finance as a whole. As shareholders, EU Member States should stop supporting abusive practices that are banned in their own countries, and instead help farmers and other food industry stakeholders in developing countries meet higher standards for animal welfare.”

To voice support for the inclusion of animal welfare in the World Bank’s Safeguard Policies, HSI asks citizens worldwide to support our online petition.


  • Since the release of the 2013 report, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank incorporated animal welfare into their lending policies. However, as described in the report, these banks need to improve the implementation of these policies.
  • The State Agriculture Ministers of Germany; the Agriculture Ministers of Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands; and the Austrian government have called for government supported investments to comply with EU Animal Welfare Standards.
  • In its Five Year Progress Report on International Animal Welfare, the UK government specifically cited HSI’s 2013 report and called for better inclusion of animal welfare standards in international investments.

Media contacts:
UK: Wendy Higgins, whiggins@hsi.org, +44(0)7989 972 423
US: Raúl Arce-Contreras, rcontreras@humanesociety.org, +1 301-721-6440 

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