Output 1

Report on existing inspection concepts for animal welfare in organic production for different animal species:
Download the report of IO 1

Abstract Report Work package 2

To ensure a high level of animal welfare in organic farming, Regulation (EC) No 834/07 of the European Community provides a comprehensive set of resource-related criteria for organic production. However, there are currently no precise guidelines for inspectors to check the status of animal-related criteria. Critical cases regarding animal welfare conditions on organic farms in the past have been linked to the lack of inspection guidelines/concepts for animal-specific criteria. For this reason, different stakeholders (associations, certification bodies (CB’s), research projects) have implemented their own concepts to address this shortcoming.

Work Package 2 aimed to evaluate existing inspection concepts with regard to animal welfare for different animal species in organic animal production.

In addition to a review of the current literature as well as the outcomes of EU projects and researches on the subject of animal welfare in organic agriculture, an analysis of the existing inspection concepts (strengths and weaknesses) implemented by the project partners and the members of the Quavera network was carried out. Furthermore, a survey targeting to the members of the European Organic Certifiers Council (EOCC) members was implemented to obtain an overview of the approach of different control authorities and control bodies in Europe.

Review of the literature and outcomes from EU projects on animal welfare

The literature research led to the conclusion that – in order to promote animal welfare in organic farming – it is imperative that both livestock operators and inspectors have the knowledge to carry out a solid assessment of parameters that indicate the level of animal welfare in organic farms.
The review of the outcomes from different EU projects and researches on animal welfare revealed that despite numerous approaches, it has not yet been possible todevelop a single shared and agreed, simple assessment model applicable in the reality of animal-welfare inspections with a limited time budget on site.

Inspection concepts implemented by the project partners and the members of the Quavera alliance

A previous assessment of the European legal framework regarding the issue of animal welfare showed that the regulation (EC) No. 834/2007 remains rather vague and refers to “a high level of animal welfare” which must be ensured by the organic farmers. In order to support the inspectors in their work of assessing compliance with the EU standards, some of the AWARE project partners, namely Soil Association, Gesellschaft für Ressourcenschutz (GfRS) and Naturland, have already designed and implemented inspection concepts in order to verify animal-related criteria on organic farms.

Online survey of EOCC members

The online survey was implemented to obtain an overview of the approach of different control authorities and CB’s towards the inspection of animal welfare in organic production. Although all the CB‘s responding to the survey are organizing trainings for their inspectors regarding animal welfare issues, only one third of the CB`s (29 %) are doing this annually, the remaining 71 % from time to time. This result demonstrates that the focus on animal welfare during organic inspections is still not strong and that a large proportion of CB‘s might consider the resource-related criteria of regulation (EC) No. 834/2007 to be sufficient.
The results of the work package 2 revealed that the existing inspection concepts on animal-related criteria are not harmonized yet, which is the task of the next work package of the AWARE project.