Public demand will drive European animal welfare legislation

UK - Scientific information will not be the sole driver of future animal welfare legislation, according to a five-year animal welfare action plan adopted by the European Commission.
calendar icon 20 February 2006
clock icon 3 minute read

National Pig Association

NPA is active on members' behalf in Brussels & Whitehall, and with processors, supermarkets & caterers - fighting for the growth and pros-perity of the UK pig industry.

The plan proposes current minimum standards for animal welfare be upgraded across the European Union ‘in line with latest scientific information and public demand’. The Commission may establish a ‘European Centre for Animal Welfare’ to collect and exchange of information on animal welfare issues.

The action plan foresees a classification system for animal welfare practices, to differentiate between minimum standards and cases where even higher standards are used. It foresees setting up standardised indicators whereby production systems which apply higher animal welfare standards than the minimum standards get ‘due recognition’.

A European Union label for animal welfare is proposed, to identify compliance with defined animal welfare standards. The action plan stresses the importance of training people involved in animal keeping. Equally important, it says, is informing consumers about animal welfare issues.

‘By educating citizens on the various farming practices, and the costs and benefits of applying higher animal welfare standards, they will be able to make more informed purchasing decisions.’ The plan suggests improved marketing, labelling and communication strategies are needed to meet this goal. The action plan’s five areas for action are:

  • Upgrade minimum standards for animal welfare.
  • Promote research and alternative approaches to animal testing.
  • Introduce standardised animal welfare indicators.
  • Inform animal handlers and the general public on animal welfare issues.
  • Support international initiatives for the protection of animals.
Source: the National Pig Association - 20th February 2006
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