On 14th November 2022, EURCAW Ruminants & Equines held a meeting and workshop with the competent authorities of EU member states.
After an introduction which covered the background, composition and remit of the Centre,
Professor Harry Blokhuis explained how the main concerns and expectations of the Competent Authorities, Policy Workers and their ‘support bodies’ are identified and translated into activities.
Dr Josef Schenkenfelder gave a presentation on the work that has been done by EURCAW Ruminants & Equines in relation to visual and tactile contact in individually housed calves. A thematic factsheet on the subject is being finalised and will outline the biological background, legal requirements and areas of inspection. In addition, an indicator factsheet is being prepared. This will provide assistance for Official Inspectors, giving a definition of welfare indicators, as well as guidelines for assessment. Both factsheets will be available shortly on the Centre’s website.
Dr Isabelle Veissier spoke about occupational, physical, sensorial, nutritional, and relational enrichment. She outlined matters such as how to check the efficiency of enrichment, use and preference of enrichments, long-term impacts of enrichment, and limits of the concept of enrichment. Four reviews relating to enrichment will be released on the website soon.
Dr Silvia D’Albenzio provided information about the Training Needs Analysis Platform (TraNAP), through which skills gaps and learning needs of Competent Authorities/Supporting Bodies and official control staff in EU member states may be analysed. Using the information gleaned, appropriate training methodologies and tools may be selected, and relevant training materials produced. She explained that the first round of the Training Needs Analysis was ongoing and the deadline for completing the relevant questionnaire was 30th November 2022.
After these presentations, two workshops took place. The first workshop focused on Dissemination activities, and participants offered up suggestions regarding new ways in which EURCAW Ruminants & Equines could communicate in order to increase effectiveness, as well as providing feedback on existing methods of communication. The second workshop dealt with the Questions to EURCAW service (‘Q2E’). Participants outlined obstacles preventing them from sending a ‘Q2E’, the main challenges with Official Inspections, and open norms regarding animal welfare legislation that they would like to be addressed by EURCAW Ruminants & Equines.
The meeting finished with an overview of the EURCAW Ruminants & Equines Work Programme for 2023-2024.