SUMMARY

Subject
EFSA Roadmap on Animal Welfare
Target audience
National Reference Centres, Supporting Bodies, Policy Workers & Competent Authorities

EFSA Future Direction for Animal Welfare Research

By Published On: February 9, 2024Categories: News

@ IVeissier_INRAE

On 16 January, EFSA published the new roadmap for the More Welfare project: towards new risk assessment methodologies and harmonised animal welfare data in the EU. The project objective is to understand animal welfare assessment methods, tools and data collection methods. Dairy and beef cattle, beef calves, horses, and small ruminants are among the species of interest. The roadmap identified seven main working topics, divided into three broad categories to reach the project goals. 

The working areas are as follows:

  1. Definition of animal welfare:
  • Conceptualising animal welfare – approaches from other disciplines: interdisciplinary perspectives (e.g., psychology or sociology) provide a well-rounded definition and understanding of animal welfare.
  • Positive animal welfare: understanding the balance of negative and positive experiences will provide input into how animals integrate this information.
  1. Indicators and tools for welfare assessment
  • On ways to identify thresholds and cut-offs to support quantification of welfare consequences: these boundaries need to account for species, age, management differences, and other factors to have validated data. 
  • Aggregation of individual animal welfare measures: after validation of individual indicators, welfare factors will be prioritised for overall welfare outcomes.
  • Development of an automated early warning monitoring system: Using the thresholds and aggregated data, technology will help effectively monitor welfare and promote the use of warning systems. 
  1. Development of frameworks to assess and/or prioritise animal welfare issues
  • Framework for comparison, classification and grading of farms: Animal-based measures are necessary for animal welfare, but the environment, management and sustainability may influence aspects of welfare which are still unknown. 
  • Developing a framework/tool for policymakers: This outcome will provide policymakers with policies to improve animal welfare with supporting evidence.  

In order to tackle these seven working areas, five projects were proposed:

  • Animal Welfare Data across EU & Shared platform to align existing data 
  • Methods to assess welfare impacts over time 
  • Indicators of positive welfare and mental state 
  • Iceberg indicators and automated collection
  • Expert opinion and minimum values

For the full report, see: https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/supporting/pub/en-8566 

For the recorded info session, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLGL5zS1-gY 

Source: Paulović, Tea; Jong, Ingrid de; Ouweltjes, Wijbrand; Martin Valls, Gerard Eduard; Llonch  Obiols, Pol; Ko, Heng-Lun; Kieffer, Victor; Lapeyre, Clara; Campana, Camilla; Wille, Hannah; Aleksandra Jasinska; Spoolder, Hans, 2024. Development of a roadmap for action for  the  project  More  Welfare:  towards  new  risk  assessment  methodologies  and  harmonised animal  welfare  data  in  the  EU. EFSA  supporting  publication 2024:EN-8566. 163pp.doi: 10.2903/sp.efsa.2024.EN-8566

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