Output 2

Report on the development of a common inspection concept:
Download the report of IO 2

Abstract Report Work Package 3

The objective of the AWARE project is to develop a common approach for the assessment of animal welfare in organic farming during the inspection process.

In the course of work package 2 a review on existing inspection concepts for animal welfare in organic production was carried out. The conclusion was that there is a need to improve the existing inspection concepts which mainly rely on ressource-based criteria by supplementing them with animal-related criteria. However, the evaluation of pilot projects using animal-related criteria showed, that the concepts used were subject to some critical limitations, such as being time consuming and the requirement of a high level of specialist knowledge.

Based on the outcome of work package 2, work package 3 aimed to develop a common inspection concept for the assessment of animal welfare, including a variety of animal-related criteria for different animal species, which is practicable during organic controls.

Overall framing of the common inspection approach

The AWARE partners first identified the basic principles, that the new common inspection concept should follow. These were developed considering the practical experience and existing knowledge of the partner organisations.

It was agreed that inspection protocols must be easily accessible and intuitive with clear, robust criteria. These attributes are essential to, to gain acceptance among the broad variety of organic control bodies from different backgrounds regarding animal welfare. They should start with ideas and concepts which are familiar to both inspectors and farmers. Therefore clear links to the EU organic regulation were found to be important.

Furthermore the protocols need to be feasible for the development of training and learning resources, which is the aim of work package 4 of this project.

Development of the draft common inspection approach including draft protocols

Detailed inspection protocols were developed for a wide range of farm animals (i.e. cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, leying hens, trukeys and broilers), The protocols have many common elements, but and are also tailored to include rneassure that are required to ensure accurate evluation of welfare for each species, including animal related criteria.
All protocols start with an introductory section which is mostly identical for all species, This section provides practical suggestions and guidance in how to apply the protocols. In the following section biosecurity and hygiene measures for the inspector are outlined.

The main part of the inspection protocols contains checklists for the stepwise inspection of animal welfare, starting with the overall picture of animal welfare on farm level by animal observation and checking the resourced based criteria. This general section is followed by a detailed examination of sub-groups of animals for certain criteria determined for each animal species.

For this section a uniform scoring system was developed in order to facilitate the inspection process. The sub-groups are selected according to the findings of the overall assessment on farm level. In case where the farm level assessment has not highlighted any welfare concerns the sub-groups are selected randomly. The protocols suggest the sample size based on herd size and animal species.

The new common inspection concept allows the inspector to make use of their skills and provides opportunity for close interaction with the farmer. This is expected to lead to a higher acceptance and better understanding of the new approach by both inspectors and farmers.

During the last phase of work package 3 supporting documents were developed in order to explain the significance of each measure in the protocols.

Based on the outcome of work package 3, the task of work package 4 is to design a training concept for organic inspectors in order to implement the new concept in practice.