Standards of animal welfare accepted in the international (mainly European and North American) marketplace are influenced by a wide range of factors, including lobby groups and retailers. In addition, voluntary labelling of products (one of the tools advocated by lobbyists and retailers) is likely to have considerable influence over consumer purchasing choices (for foods derived from animal friendly products and production systems). The EU is determined, through a combination of policy adjustment, research and monitoring of animals, and provision of information, to make improvements to the welfare of animals that contribute to the food supply of European consumers. The changed regimefor CAP payments will mean that systems for monitoring livestock welfare will be in place in Europe from 2007. The EU’s Welfare Quality research project will have a draft set of welfare monitoring standards available for “road testing” at the beginning of 2007. Similarly, validated measurement tools that are relevant to New Zealand conditions are required (to facilitate continued success in premium-priced welfare-sensitive markets). Ideally, the measurement tools and systems need to be outcome-based and applicable to the assessment of all aspects of welfare covered under the Five Freedoms and in New Zealand’s production systems.

LR, Matthews

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 67, Wanaka, 226-231, 2007
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