New initiative launched to improve lives of farmed animals

A new Global Animal Welfare Assurance initiative to improve the lives of farmed animals has been launched.

Led by the University of Bristol, it aims to share knowledge and best practice with farmers and food businesses to increase the proportion of animals farmed to high-welfare standards.

Funded by the Farm Animal Welfare Forum and Tubney Charitable Trust, the initiative has been developed with scientific support from the Bristol Vet School and the Royal Agricultural University and is an alliance of five experienced and trusted higher welfare assurance schemes – the Soil Association (UK), RSPCA Assured (UK), Beter Leven (NL), Global Animal Partnership (USA) and SPCA Blue Tick (NZ).

Together, the alliance offers the following services and benefits on the intersection between animal welfare, farming practices and auditing processes:

  • sharing experience, knowledge and best practice with membership organisations;
  • helping with the set up and development of animal welfare assurance systems;
  • offering consultancy to businesses to deliver on animal welfare pledges.

Professor David Main, Professor of production animal health and welfare at the Royal Agricultural University, said: “This alliance of higher-welfare schemes is a significant global initiative that can help consumers and the food supply chain source products from animals that have had an opportunity for a good life.”

Dr Siobhan Mullan, European specialist in animal welfare science at Bristol Vet School and one of the initiative’s leads, added: “This is a fantastic initiative which brings together like-minded higher welfare farm assurance schemes with the aim to improve the lives of farmed animals all over the world.

“By sharing best practice and expertise it is expected that Global Animal Welfare Assurance will facilitate the development of authentically higher-welfare schemes based on science-led standards and ensure the validity of welfare claims made by food businesses.”

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