How does improving the well-being of animals benefit people? Does increasing animal welfare legislation and standards in developed countries offer opportunities or barriers to livestock producers in developing countries?
The Animal Production and Health Division at FAO
has organised an "Open Forum on Capacity Building to Implement Good Animal Welfare Practices
to enable interested parties to present their views on improved animal welfare in the livestock sector.
Following the Open Forum, FAO has organised a four days Expert Meeting aimed at assessing the current knowledge on animal welfare standards, practices and policies,
with the purpose of analysing possible impact and implications of animal welfare policies on the development of livestock sections in developing and emerging economies as well as of advising on how
to support relevant capacity building in developing countries.
Executive Summary and Recommendations of the Expert Meeting Report
Expert Meeting Report
The European Commission is actively contributing to the initiative.
Following the initiative on "Capacity Building to Implement Good Animal Welfare Practices",
FAO has launched a portal for Farmed Animal Welfare, which will be an all encompassing source of
information about the welfare of farm animals to individuals and organizations. The portal consists
of a documents section where legislation and publications can be easily accessed, a directory, a news
and events section and also information about various projects, training, funding, employment, multimedia and other links related to farm animal welfare.
The Commission has actively contributed to the development of the FAO portal which has been launched in close
partnership with key international partners in animal welfare such as the World Organisation for Animal Health,
the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Compassion In World Farming, the Latin American Poultry Association,
Humane Society International, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals,
the Brooke, the World Society for the Protection of Animals, the International Dairy Federation, the International Federation of Agriculture Producers and the World Veterinary Association.
See the FAO press released issued on the date of the launch
You can directly access the FAO portal from the link here below:
Aiming to increase the awareness on its animal welfare standards, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), with the financial backing of the
European Commission, organised in Panama City on 19-20 August 2008, the first
OIE Inter-American Meeting on Animal Welfare.
The aim of the meeting was to support the implementation of the OIE guidelines on animal welfare.
The European Commission is actively working with the OIE to raise awareness on animal welfare issues internationally and to support the
implementation of the OIE guidelines. This meeting was the latest in a series of successful events that have been co-organised by the Commission and the OIE, such as the
Workshop "Animal Welfare in Europe: achievements and future prospects"
(November 2006, Strasbourg) and the
International Conference "Animal Welfare: New Horizons For The 21st Century, An International And Regional Perspective
" (April 2007, Montevideo)
The meeting in Panama City was financed by the OIE World Animal Health and Welfare Fund, to which the Commission contributed 100.000€.
The 2nd OIE Global Conference on Animal Welfare
was held in Cairo from 20-22 October 2008, (the 1st OIE Global Conference on Animal Welfare took place in Paris 2004).
The theme of this 2nd OIE Global Conference on Animal Welfare, entitled 'Putting the OIE Standards to Work', was the worldwide implementation of the OIE Animal Welfare
standards for the transport of livestock by land, sea and air; the slaughter of animals for human consumption and the killing of animals for disease control purposes.
The Commission fully supports the OIE in the implementation of their animal welfare standards and gave a contribution of 200.000€ to this Conference.
The OIE European Regional Meeting on Animal Welfare is held in Istanbul, Turkey from 16 to 17 of July 2009.
The aim of this seminar is to discuss the implementation of the OIE animal welfare standards in the Region of Europe and to emphasise the importance of veterinary education in this field.
The meeting in Istanbul is financed by the OIE World Animal Health and Welfare Fund, to which the Commission contributed 100.000 €.
The rules of international trade can have an immense impact on animal welfare, and mostly on the welfare of farmed animals.
The development of trade agreements can either undermine important legislative achievements, or offer relevant opportunities
to promote animal welfare legislation and standards at the international level. Similarly, legislation approved by single countries and policies adopted
by either farmers or retailers can have a major impact on the way farm animals are treated.
The European Commission (DG SANCO and DG TRADE) together with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
(RSPCA), Eurogroup for Animals, Compassion In World Farming and World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), has decided to organize an
International Forum on Global Aspects of Farm Animal Welfare
on 22-23 April 2008 and a Conference on Global Trade and Farm Animal Welfare on 20-21 January 2009.
Programme of the Global Trade and Farm Animal Welfare
The aim of the events is to bring together different constituents from all continents, who will present and discuss
positive experiences of inclusion of animal welfare in the trade environment.
Through exchange and sharing of concrete case studies, the Forum and Conference should prepare the ground for and facilitate
the adoption of similar policies worldwide.
An international workshop on animal welfare, organised by the Commission, the Finnish Presidency, the
Council of Europe and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), took place in Strasbourg on 23 and 24 November 2006, with
the aim of bringing the gap between animal welfare legislation and its practical application.
Senior government and veterinary representatives from 50 countries in the European region took part in
the workshop, which was hosted by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, in cooperation with the European Union and the OIE. They
had the opportunity to exchange best practice solutions and discuss ways to overcome social, legal, and economic obstacles that
hinder the effective implementation of animal welfare guidelines throughout Europe.
The workshop also allowed the CoE, EU and OIE to consider how their existing activities could complement
each other, with a view to maximising the efforts being made to improve animal welfare in Europe.
At the end of the workshop, the Council of Europe (CoE), the European Union (EU) and the World
Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) adopted a joint declaration
entitled “Animal Welfare in Europe: achievements and future prospects”.
In the Declaration, the Council of Europe, the OIE and the European Union commit to providing mutual support and cooperating on all
aspects of animal welfare, from the elaboration of legislation, to the training of veterinary professionals and para-professionals,
to raising public awareness of the societal value of animal welfare.
The important link between animal welfare and the need for adequate scientific and veterinary expertise is
stressed in the document. Furthermore, the Declaration commits to efficiently assisting countries to comply with, develop or enforce
animal welfare laws, standards and guidelines at a national level.
The Swedish Presidency of the EU organized an animal welfare conference on 8-9 October in Uppsala – "Delivering Animal Welfare and Quality: Transparency in the Food Production Chain". The conference was opened by the European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou and the Swedish Minister for Agriculture Eskil Erlandsson. The aim of the conference was to present the results of the Welfare Quality research project and to explore future ways to strengthen animal welfare in the EU and internationally. For further information please go to:
On 23-25 February 2004
the OIE organised the first global conference on
animal welfare at its headquarters in Paris. For
more information, see the
The EU fully supports
the initiative of the OIE regarding animal
welfare and hopes to concretely contribute to the
process, in particular in relation to this global
The primary objective
of the Conference was to improve the global
understanding of the linkage between animal
health and animal welfare and to seek NGOs' input
on how they, as bodies representing the views of
stakeholders in many countries, could contribute
most effectively to the OIE's work.
The Conference brought
together stakeholders (governmental authorities,
scientists, private sector and non profit NGOs)
from around the world to support OIE in its
animal welfare activities and to assess the way
they should contribute most effectively. Proceedings
conference have now been published.
In May 2002 the OIE
Resolution on Animal
member countries of the OIE have accepted to
start the development of policies and guiding
principles to provide a sound foundation from
which to elaborate specific recommendations and
The first meeting of a
Working Group was held from 16 to 18 October 2002
In particular it
examined the best options for incorporating the
views of non-governmental organisations (NGOs),
including industry, in its work on animal
welfare. The International Committee of the OIE
adopted in May 2003 a Resolution
that supports the work program of the OIE in this
field and the organisation of the first global
conference on animal welfare and calls for
support to the initiative.
On 25 May 2004 the
International Committee of the OIE adopted
recognised that work on developing guidelines for
animal welfare priority topics was already
underway and highlighting that the active
involvement of all OIE Member Countries would be
essential to the success of the initiative.
Specific articles on
guiding principles for animal welfare and the
scientific basis for guidelines for animal
welfare were introduced into the
Animal Health Code in 2004. The Code also
contains details on principles applicable to all
forms and specific forms of transport, as well as
guidelines for the welfare of animals during
transport by air.
The OIE has also
established four ad hoc groups to develop animal
welfare guidelines concerning the land and sea
transport of animals, the slaughter of animals
for human consumption and the humane killing of
animals for disease control. The
developed by these ad hoc groups were adopted at
the May 2005 OIE General Session, as well as a
Resolution concerning future OIE activities on
An OIE resolution, voted unanimously by the 167 member countries, created in 2004 the World Health and Welfare Fund to help
developing countries meet international standards for dealing with disease outbreaks, animal welfare and related issues.
On 20 October 2006 five international organisations met in Paris as the Advisory Committee for the OIE’s World
Animal Health and Welfare Fund.
The OIE has also just
published the review "
Welfare: global issues, trends and
challenges", the second major animal welfare
publication in the OIE's quarterly Scientific and
Technical Review series (previous animal welfare
specific issue published in 1994). This
publication provides an overview of the animal
welfare role played by veterinary services in OIE
Member Countries and includes review articles on
specific international animal welfare issues.
On 8 December 2009, in Paris an OIE meeting was organised to present the content of a publication on animal pains ("Douleurs animales"), related to farm animals (except fur animals). This paper is a follow up action of a series of meetings on animal and society in France ("Rencontres Animal et Société") organised by the French government. The paper was prepared in 2009 by a group of philosophers, economists and scientists (including medical doctors). For more information go to:http://www.inra.fr/presse/expertise_douleurs_animales_chez_animaux_elevage
In November 2002 the
Commission adopted a
Communication to the
Council and European Parliament
animal welfare standards in the European Union
with standards in third country trading partners.
The Report analyses ways to avoid potential
competitive disadvantages and subsequent
deterioration in animal welfare standards as a
result of disparities in measures.
The study shows that
there is no international consensus on the role
of animal welfare and the measures in place in
the EU cannot be readily compared with the
standards in third countries.
A key issue for the
report was whether competitive disadvantages
arise from disparities in animal welfare
measures. The evidence available suggests that
competitive distortions are most likely to arise
in the more intensive forms of agricultural
production, notably in the pig and poultry
Starting from the
assumption that competitive distortions (whether
to the advantage or disadvantage of EU producers)
arising from differences in standards have the
clear potential to undermine higher animal
welfare, the report investigates a number of
channels to prevent such a development:
- Market mechanisms -
consumers are increasingly willing to pay more
for "ethical" products;
- Dialogue at the
international level aiming at greater
recognition of animal welfare, in particular in
the framework of the OIE (World Organisation
for Animal Health) and the Council of
- Promotion of animal
welfare standards in trade arrangements;
- Within the Commission,
TRADE is responsible for general trade
issues, including negotiations in the WTO),
Agriculture as far as trade in agricultural
products is concerned;
- Improvement of
labelling regimes to respond to consumer
demands for higher standards;
Agriculture is responsible for the
labelling of agricultural products, for other
Enterprise is the responsible Commission
- Strengthening the
position of animal welfare in EU agricultural
policy as part of the reform of the Common
Agricultural Policy focusing on "quality rather
- The web site of
Agriculture informs about the ongoing
reform of the Common Agricultural Policy;
The pros and cons of
each path are analysed in the document with a
particular focus on the implications of animal
welfare as regards animal health, food safety and
consumer concerns. The Report concludes that
efforts must concentrate on all fronts in order
to cope with the complexity of animal welfare and
its ethical and cultural dimension.
In 1988 the Community
ratified the Council of Europe
for the Protection of Animals Kept for Farming
Purposes. The Community and the Member States
are parties to the Convention. They also
participated in the process of drafting and
for the welfare of different animal species
which are elaborated by the Standing Committee of
the Convention. The Member States are expected to
give effect to the recommendations.
In the framework of
this Convention recommendations on the protection
of duck and geese and of fur animals entered into
Committee on Animal Health and Animal
Welfare´s (SCAHAW) opinion on
aspects for the production of foie gras in ducks
reference for these recommendations.
concerning turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo ssp.) was
adopted by the Standing Committee on 21 June 2001
in Strasbourg and entered into force on 21
December 2001. The recommendation recognises that
some methods of husbandry at present in
commercial use fail to meet the biological needs
and hence result in poor welfare. Therefore all
Contracting Parties shall encourage research on
the development of new husbandry systems and
methods of breeding and management in line with
the Convention so that the needs of the animals
can be met. The environment and management
practices must fulfil the animal's biological
needs rather than trying to adapt the animals to
the environment by procedures such as mutilation.
The recommendation shall be reviewed within 5
years of coming into force.
A recommendation on the
protection of animals kept for fur production was
amended in 1999. General requirements for the
farming of the following species are provided:
mink, polecat, ferret, fitch, foxes, coypu,
nutria and chinchilla. On 12-13 December 2001,
the SCAHAW adopted an opinion on
of Animals kept for Fur Production
In 1998 the Community adopted a decision to approve the Council of Europe
for the Protection of Animals for
Slaughter. The formal ratification process is not completed yet.
On 11 June 2003 the
Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers
Council of Europe Convention for the Protection
of Animals during International Transport.
The Convention will be opened for signature by
Council of Europe member states and the European
Union on the occasion of the 113th session of the
Committee of Ministers in Chisinau, Moldova on 5
- See this related
release : Commission proposes signing the
Council of Europe Convention on the Protection
of Animals during International Transport
Council of Europe Convention on international
animal transport, Luxembourg, 21 June 2004
In June 2004 the EU
signed the Council of Europe
Convention for the protection of animals during
On 2 December 2004 the
Standing Committee of the European Convention for
the Protection of Animals kept for farming
purposes adopted a recommendation concerning pigs
which replaces the recommendation concerning pigs
adopted on 21 November 1986. A draft
recommendation concerning farmed fish has also
been developed which is expected to be adopted by
the Standing Committee in November 2005.
The Commission has
undertaken to raise the issue of animal welfare
in the new WTO negotiating round. However, during
the negotiations in Seattle in 1999 there was no
support for the approach as proposed by the
Community. The Commission continued nonetheless
to work towards international
of animal welfare concerns during the
ministerial conference in Doha in November
Norwegian Animal Welfare Action Plan
The Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture took an initiative in 2001, which resulted in the publishing
of a white paper (Proposition to the Storting) regarding animal husbandry and animal welfare. The white paper was published
in 2002 and constitutes a broad review and evaluation of all animal care in Norway from an ethical and welfare perspective.
It also includes proposals for long term goals and actions, hereunder an ethical platform.