EU Reference Centre for Animal Welfare

EU Reference Centre for Animal Welfare

On 5th March 2018 the Commission designated a first European Union Reference Centre for Animal Welfare (Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/329). After the establishment of the EU Platform on Animal Welfare in 2017 this represents another milestone in the development of high EU animal welfare standards.

Following a public selection process, a consortium formed by the Wageningen Livestock Research (the Netherlands), the Friedrich Loeffler Institute (Germany) and the Department of Animal Science at Aarhus University (Denmark) has been designated as EU Reference Centre.

This first Centre will focus on pig welfare since improving the enforcement of the legislation of pigs is one of the Commission's priorities in the area of animal welfare. Its designation will be reviewed every five years.

The Centre will provide technical support and coordinated assistance to the EU countries in carrying out official controls in the field of animal welfare. It will also contribute to the dissemination of good practices on animal welfare in the EU. In particular, it will provide its scientific and technical expertise, carrying out studies and developing methods for assessing the welfare level of animals and methods for its improvement.

As effective knowledge transfer and innovative strategies are essential to satisfy the welfare requirements, the Centre will be in charge of disseminating research findings as well as conducting training courses for the staff of national scientific support networks, for the EU countries' competent authorities and for experts from non-EU countries.

The specific tasks of the Centre will be defined in the annual or multiannual work programmes established in conformity with the objectives and priorities of the relevant work programmes adopted by the Commission.

The establishment of Animal Welfare Reference Centres is laid down in the Official Controls Regulation (Articles 95 & 96).