EU Large Carnivore Platform: New CAP & coexistence measures
After long negotiations on the Common Agricultural Policy reform for the 2021-2027 period, a provisional agreement between the Council and Parliament was finally reached on 25 June. Read about the changes that the new CAP holds for livestock protection.
CAP reform and large carnivore coexistence measures
Although the current CAP rules have been extended for 2 years and the new CAP measures will likely come into place at the start of 2023, it is already time to look ahead. What does the new CAP mean for financing livestock protection measures and for wider measures to support coexistence with large carnivores?
The EU Platform on Coexistence between People and Large Carnivores, of which EUROPARC is a member, has produced a briefing note describing how coexistence measures with large carnivores (especially protection of livestock) can be financed under the current and new Common Agricultural Policy.
The main measures to protect livestock against large carnivore depredation are fencing, livestock guarding dogs and shepherding.
Currently, the protection measures can be funded under the Rural Development Programmes (Pillar 2 of the CAP), which run until the end of 2022. Under the new CAP, which is likely to begin in January 2023, the same measures can be funded under the new Rural Development Programmes.
Additionally, the ecoschemes under the direct payments’ budget of the new CAP (Pillar 1) could be used to support these measures. The final form of ecoschemes has not been defined yet, but The European Commission has published a list of potential practices earlier this year. Among them, the most relevant ones that could potentially be used as additional support to livestock breeders coexisting with large carnivores are:
- Agroecology: support to low intensity, grass-based systems – could potentially be used for maintenance payments in areas where large carnivores are present
- Husbandry and animal welfare plans: housing and open-air grazing management – could potentially be used for fencing and night-enclosure systems
- High nature value farming: shepherding and transhumance – could be used to support shepherding in areas where large carnivores are present
Preparation of CAP Strategic Plans
Member States and their managing authorities are currently working on their CAP Strategic Plans, that will be afterwards reviewed by the European Commission. They should make sure that, where relevant, livestock protection measures are included. The draft regulation obliges managing authorities responsible for the Strategic Plans to collect inputs from stakeholders including other relevant public authorities, economic and social partners and bodies representing civil society.
For the final National Strategies, authorities together with stakeholders should ensure that large carnivore coexistence is sufficiently considered, and at the same time counter-productive measures are avoided.