Full commitment for organic animal welfare throughout Europe!

Throughout Europe organic farmers are inspected according to the EU-Regulations on organic production. Additional private standards apply. The problem that the AWARE project addresses is that many criteria of the EU Organic Regulation are resource based e.g. space per animal in housing, type of housing, type of feed, while the “welfare outcome” mentioned generically. The use of ‘welfare outcomes’ is a rather new approach in organic certification. This was confirmed by the results of IO 1, an analysis of the existing inspection concepts for organic animal production throughout Europe.

At several project meetings the key concepts for the new inspection approach were discussed by the project partners. Building on the findings of IO 1, it was agreed that any new way of assessing animals and their welfare must be highly relevant to the EU Organic regulation. This will allow organic inspectors and organic farmers to feel comfortable with the new inspection approach as it clearly relates to and builds upon the well-known resource based criteria specified in the EU rules.

An intensive two day workshop in the UK, hosted by AWARE Project Partner Soil Association near their offices in Bristol, was used to finalise the inspection concept. This included the identification of animal-related criteria that will enable a systematic approach to welfare assessment both at the group and individual level.

Following the workshop Soil Association drafted exemplary inspection protocols for the most commonly farmed species, including the agreed animal-related criteria. Each protocol is designed to allow consistent assessment of the condition of the animals in a way that will be readily understood by both the inspector and the farmer. The AWARE Partners have agreed that it is important for the farmer and inspector to have a positive engagement about animal welfare that not only ensures that poor welfare is detected and addressed, but that there is good recognition of when animals are being well cared for. Output 2, including the inspection protocols, is now available on the AWARE-webpage. It is currently used by the AWARE Project Partners as a basis for the development of a training curriculum and an E-Learning-Platform for the training of organic inspectors.

More Information:
Webpage of the AWARE-project:
IO 1: Roberto Maresca, CCPB, rmaresca (at) 
IO 2: Chris Atkinson, Soil Association, CAtkinson (at)

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained there