30 June 2005


The Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) launches its Report on the Welfare Implications of Farm Assurance Schemes today, at its Annual Open Meeting in London.

The welfare standards experienced by the farm animals that provide our livestock products are increasingly the focus of attention by consumers who are concerned about the provenance and quality characteristics of the food they eat. Assurance that certain conditions have been met in this context originate back in the supply chain and cannot be checked at point of purchase; hence the need for a robust and independently certified framework to ensure the availability, validity and delivery of that information.

Professor Christopher Wathes, Chairman of FAWC, said “This report looks at the evolution of farm assurance schemes since FAWC’s Interim report in 2001 and their influence on animal welfare. We have also looked at the welfare impact of organic certification schemes. The recommendations we make are directed at all players in the food supply chain, with the intention of stimulating greater leadership, particularly from the post-farm sectors who wield more power in the market place,”

He continued “FAWC believes that, if it is to be meaningful, the assurance process needs to embrace the treatment of farm animals throughout their life from birth to slaughter and extend to all livestock products, whether fresh or processed. We also believe that the welfare requirements applied to food produced at home should equally apply to imported livestock products.”

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