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C 102/36 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 3. 4.

98

− provide those companies which are known to import the genetically modified product into the Community
for processing with information relating to the genetically modified product produced by or under licence
from Plant Genetic Systems.

(1) OJ L 169, 27.6.1997.

(98/C 102/51) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2375/97


by Gianni Tamino (V) to the Commission
(10 July 1997)

Subject: Community contribution to misleading information on cattle farming

A lavishly produced illustrated brochure has been distributed − under the aegis and presumably also with the
financial assistance of the agriculture and education departments of the Milan provincial government and the
office of the European Commission in Milan − entitled ‘Everything you need to know about cattle − a journey
into Milanese agriculture’. It contains idyllic descriptions of a non-intensive form of farming, expressed in brief
phrases and statements such as ‘calves grow happily and without stress’, ‘the slaughterhouse is not a sinister
place (...) but resembles rather a Dutch factory’, ‘the future roasts arrive there after quite a comfortable journey in
double decker lorries like London buses’, ‘stops are made which allow the animals to drink water and think’ − all
this accompanied by pictures of free, smiling animals.

How is it possible to assist initiatives based on such misleading information which does not correspond to the
reality of industrial farming, in which false assertions are made, such as those concerning the conditions for the
transport of live animals or how calves are raised, − situations which the Union has decided to remedy by means
of new Directives?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission


(18 September 1997)

The publication in question may have in fact overshot a little bit in its − admittedly slightly romantic − wording.
Nevertheless, the information about cattle farming provided in this publication should not be called misleading.
Information publications in general aim at disseminating a certain message by using certain images and content.
Whether in business, or in public communication, it is not uncommon to go positive by underlining existing
assets.

As far as the common agricultural policy is concerned, the message reads: We care about human health, and the
environment, but also about animal protection. The latest proposals within Agenda 2000 show this quite clearly.
The Honourable Member will be aware that the Community has indeed improved environmental protection and
animal protection in agriculture. It has recently adopted higher standards on the protection of calves, on the
protection of animals during transport and at the time of slaughter. These regulations correspond to reality,
because they are already existing. Therefore the Commission should be entitled to give information about these
achievements in a proper way, in order to counter-balance the sometimes biased information on this issue.

(98/C 102/52) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2383/97


by Nikitas Kaklamanis (UPE) to the Commission
(10 July 1997)

Subject: Via Ignatia railway line

It is well known that Greece is one of the EU Member States with a very difficult geographical situation, a fact
compounded by its remoteness and the absence of common frontiers with other Member States of the Union. As
a result, considerable attention needs to be given to transport infrastructures in the country in order to overcome
its isolation as far as possible.