European farm animal breeders want to demonstrate to the public their concern over animal welfare and the environment by creating a Code of Good Practice for Farm Animal Breeding and Reproduction. This will be done in an 18-month EU Specific Support Action (CODE-EFABAR). The Code will help breeders to demonstrate in a transparent and verifiable way what their goals are and how they can achieve them. Animals used for breeding are a special case as their genetic make-up is passed on to future generations of stock.
FROM FORK TO BREEDING ANIMAL
The breeding and reproduction standards suggested will apply to cattle, pigs, poultry and fish. Breeding is the first link in the food chain producing meat, milk, fish and eggs, which makes up a significant part of agricultural production. It includes choice of breed, selection, genes, animal welfare, genetic diversity, public and animal health, food quality and the environment.
An earlier EU-funded project on animal breeding, Sustainable European Farm Breeding and Production (SEFABAR), found that breeders do have a reliable image for providing the information consumers want. SEFABAR's conclusions about sustainable breeding, which took into account ethical, sociological, welfare, and economic work, are essential in the outline of this project.
The Code aims to build trust among consumers and create transparency for European citizens, as well as towards farmers who are the customers of animal breeders. While some larger producers might be able to draw up their own codes, a high proportion of European farm animal breeders are small or mediumsized enterprises (SMEs). In any case, a universal code can be written and checked more carefully and should prove more widely acceptable to society as a whole. An association of breeders from northern and southern Europe, the European Forum of Farm Animal Breeders (EFFAB, formerly Farm Animal Industrial Platform - FAIP), will draft the technical sections of the Code.
The bioethical and risk-assessment elements will be researched by a bioethical centre in Denmark, while the European Forum of Biotechnology will deal with communication, and Société Générale de la Surveillance will provide verification and certification information. The draft Code will be discussed at a workshop for NGOs and European breeders before the final version is refined and published. A verification and certification mechanism is planned to allow breeders to develop their own standards within the Code, and to have them approved and publicised in the way they choose.
The strategy for spreading awareness of the Code will include its publication on the SEFABAR website (www. sefabar.org/code-efabar) alongside information for those involved in the food chain, politicians and NGOs. Brochures for breeders will be published in several languages and breeding organisations will be trained to apply the Code. At the end of the project, EFFAB (FAIP) will take responsibility for maintaining the Code.
The prime effect of the Code will be greater transparency about European farm animal breeding practices which, it is hoped, will make consumers more confident about the quality and safety of farm animal products.
In addition, it will increase the competitiveness of Europe's animal breeding and reproduction sector. The Code will demonstrate the professionalism of breeding organisations. It will play a part in preserving traditional breeds, in marketing local food varieties, and in creating new markets for indigenous breeds from eastern European accession countries. It is important to stress that European farm animal breeders have declared that they have no interest in the use of genetic modification or cloning for food production. These technologies do not bring advantages for food production. Moreover, European consumers do not want these technologies to be applied, and this wish is being respected by means of, among other tools, a verifiable and transparent Code.
List of Partners
- European Forum of Animal Breeders (The Netherlands)
- Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences. (Denmark)
- European Federation of Biotechnology (The Netherlands)
- Institute for Pig Genetics (The Netherlands)
- Aqua Gen (Norway)
- Semenitaly (Italy)
- SGS Nederland (The Netherlands)
- Svensk Avel (Sweden)
- Lohmann (Germany)
- Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentàries. (Spain)
- Badi Besbes ISA (France)
- Loredana Locatelli (Italy)
- Full title:
- Code of good practice for farm animal breeding and reproduction organizations
- Contract n°:
- Project co-ordinator:
- Anne-Marie Neeteson,
European Forum of Farm Animal Breeders (EFFAB, formerly Farm Animal Industrial Platform - FAIP)
- EC Scientific Officer:
- John Claxton,
- EU contribution:
- € 000,000
- Specific Support Action