Fabian Demicoli

Stakeholders’ debate on a possible revised EU legislative framework for animal welfare


The Commission organised the debate
to start the reflection with stakeholders and member states on the ongoing
ideas based on the Animal Welfare strategy 2012-2015. The meeting was organised
in 4 subsequent sessions, however no conclusions were presented.  These sessions included:

1.  Using
animal welfare indicators for compliance with EU law

Currently there are many qualitative
requirements in farming directives and lack of uniform application. There are
also few (but very prescriptive) quantitative requirements with much focus on
space but no effect on management. The welfare indicators should improve
uniform application for qualitative requirements and introduce flexibility for
some quantitative requirements. They should increase sense of ownership among
operators.

The commission favors developing a
general framework with indicators (as opposed to species specific model). It is
still open if the indicators should be verified as "stand alone controls" or as
part of a farm management system. The administrative burden, legal security,
and costs are important to be considered.

The commission referred to the HACCP
model as good example for a AW management analysis (risk analysis, follow up of
the relevant parameters, corrective actions, transparency of the data, regular
review of the management system with regards to the actual risks).  

2.  Providing
better information to consumers

Farmers not always rewarded despite
existence of private schemes with +/- animal welfare parameters. There is no
independent information to consumers and businesses to validate the AW schemes.

The AW strategy aims to provide
better information to consumers thereby ensuring farmers better value and
visibility for their work on animal welfare. The Commission indicated favoring
a EU database for consumers/business operators with information on animal
welfare legislation and schemes.  

3.   Which
role for an animal welfare European Network?

The insufficient awareness coupled
with research not being adequately disseminated among operators leads to
limited know-how. This negatively affects competitiveness and innovation of
farmers and business operators

The network aims to reinforce links
between fundamental and applied research, educational resources and
stakeholders, and improve level of awareness and know-how among stakeholders.

The scope and interaction of the
European network with other EU agencies needs to be clarified. A pilot project
(EUWellNet) will run from for 12 months from 1st Jan 2013.  

4.   Improving
competence among personnel

Insufficient awareness of personnel
and business operators involved. This limited know-how negatively affects
competitiveness and innovation of business operators EU legislation (pigs,
broilers, transport and killing) requires explicit competence.

The options considered by the
European Commission are funding education and information (through a network)
and/or establishing minimum requirements for competence.

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