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European approaches to ensure good animal welfare

By Isabelle Veissier, Andrew Butterworth, Bettina Bock and Emma Roe


Conventions to protect domestic animals during transport, farming and slaughter were established by the Council of Europe and approved by many European states. Conventions are followed by recommendations that specify how the general principles of conventions apply for the different species. The European Union (EU) started discussions on animal welfare in the 1980s and adopted a series of Directives to protect farm animals. Both Recommendations and Directives define higher space allowance, more opportunity for social contacts, balanced diet, enriched environment, and limitation of harmful procedures. Animal welfare law varies across Europe with Northern states generally having the most stringent legislation. There is also an increasing variety of farm production schemes within European member states which contain animal welfare standards that go beyond the legal minimum. Some schemes are retailer-led; others are founded by producer organizations, sometimes in co-operation with non-governmental organisations. The differences between schemes reflect higher national legal requirements, higher quality industry schemes, organic production schemes and specific welfare-friendlier schemes. The communication of these higher welfare standards to consumers through the use of a quality assurance scheme logo on a product or packaging claims does not always happen. Farmers differ in their motivation for participating in animal welfare schemes. Some are mainly encouraged by premium prices; others give ethical reasons for changing towards animal friendly production methods. Although there is no official link between the Brambell report and European regulations to protect farm animals, the fact that the first European regulations to protect animals were adopted 10 years after the report and were in line with the conclusions of the report suggest that the report was influential, not only in the United Kingdom but also in the rest of Europe

Topics: HC, SF, QL
Year: 2008
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Provided by: e-Prints Soton

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