30 June 2005




The Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) launches its Report on the Welfare of Farmed Animals at Gatherings today.

Since the Council’s last Report on the Welfare of Livestock at Markets in 1986 much has changed in the structure of livestock farming, its marketing strategies and the design and operation of livestock markets. A review of the subject was both timely and necessary. The study covered markets and sales, other gatherings of farmed animals, agricultural shows and exhibitions, and horse and pony sales and fairs.

Professor Christopher Wathes, Chairman of FAWC, said “This report identifies the common welfare challenges present at all animal gatherings, such as transport to the gathering site, unloading, mixing with unfamiliar animals and people and loading for onward consignment. It summarises current legislation and identifies the lack of consistent protection for animals subject to various gatherings. A key recommendation calls for a single piece of legislation to protect animal welfare at all gatherings and provide this consistency.”

He continued, “Specific recommendations are made to improve animal welfare standards at gatherings in terms of the knowledge and competency of people employed to look after animals, animal care and handling, facilities provided at the gathering site and levels of supervision and enforcement. Many of these recommendations are common to all gathering sites.”

Professor Wathes concluded, “I would commend this thorough and balanced report to the Government and the industry and assure both of FAWC’s continuing assistance with, and advice on, the issues raised. I look forward to the improvements in animal welfare that implementation will bring about.”


Notes for Editors

1. The Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) is an independent advisory body established by Government in 1979 to keep under review the welfare of farm animals on agricultural land, at market, in transit and at place of slaughter; and to advise Ministers in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales, of any legislative or other changes that may be necessary.

2. Professor Christopher Wathes was appointed Chairman of FAWC with effect from 1 January 2005. He is currently the Director of Science at Silsoe Research Institute and will be transferring shortly to the Royal Veterinary College, University of London to establish an Animal Welfare Group.

3. All FAWC members serve in a personal capacity and do not represent any organisation with which they may be associated.

4. Copies of FAWC publications are available from the FAWC Secretariat at the address below. Approaches for interviews should also be routed through the Secretariat.

FAWC Secretariat
Area 511, 1A Page Street
Tel.: 020 7904 6471
Fax.: 020 7904 6993
E-mail: richard.n.aram@defra.gsi.gov.uk
Website: www.fawc.org.uk