harmonization among a record number of countries. The Commission’s proposal itself is a demonstration of harmonization among 27 member states, but with the crucial element of legal requirement rather than simply an exhortation to be better.
The Commission seeks to advance further harmonization—of course, based on the standards that we support—in the wider international community, and especially through the OIE.
Let me conclude by saying that there should be no real surprises in the forthcoming proposal. Similar animal welfare measures are already in place in a number of countries, including the United States and Canada and Australia, whether in legislation or as established operating practices required by funding bodies. Other countries are also increasingly responding to public opinion in pursuit of animal welfare. The Commission’s proposal, therefore, will substantially be about, as I said earlier, adopting best practice, but giving it the force of law.