CEO makes new complaint about unregistered industry lobbying

Following a report by DeSmog, Corporate Europe Observatory has today demanded an investigation into unregistered influencing activity by European Livestock Voice (ELV).

ELV is an EU-wide campaign launched in 2019 by livestock industry groups, including Copa-Cogeca, the European Dairy Association, Avec (poultry), AnimalhealthEurope (pharmaceutical), and others. In December 2023 DeSmog reported that ELV is being used by its industry members to push back against much-needed efforts to curb antibiotic use on farms. According to the article, animal rights advocates say that ELV is “emblematic of big business front groups active in Brussels that tread a fine line between public campaigning and behind-the-scenes lobbying to promote corporate interests.”

Information about its funding is not on ELV’s website. Nor is the ELV in the EU Transparency Register. But it seems clear that ELV is actively trying to influence EU decision-makers with a 2019 launch event in the European Parliament; a series of videos about what it calls the “paradoxes” of the EU’s Farm to Fork strategy; and a 2021 meeting with Vice-President Frans Timmermans.

Notably as cited in our 2022 report ‘A loud lobby for a silent spring’, in October 2021 ELV ran a webinar entitled ‘The Farm to Fork Strategy: what do studies say about its impact on the European Livestock Sector’. This event was part of a set of industry-coordinated activities (six commissioned impact assessments and promotional events) aimed at undermining the Farm to Fork strategy and its plans for ambitious, binding targets to tackle agriculture’s contribution to the pollution crisis.

Today we have written to the European institutions to demand an investigation into how ELV is influencing their work, and efforts to ensure that ELV is not able to lobby MEPs, Commissioners, and officials without being registered.

ELV is another example of why we need a legally-binding lobby register, and this complaint follows hot on the heels of our previous complaint about unregistered lobbying by the oil-linked lobby outfit Consumer Choice Center.

UPDATE - 22 January 2024

For further investigations into ELV please check out the work of Lighthouse Reports and this EU Scream podcast.

UPDATE - 12 February 2024

The Commission has now written back to us to indicate that the register secretariat will investigate our complaint further. 

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