ANALYSIS - Following a review of the current animal welfare legislation, the European Commission has called for a simplified legislative framework and better enforcement. Low-pathogenic bird flu has been discovered at two more ostrich farms in South Africa during routine surveillance.
In the EU, the European Commission has reviewed current animal welfare legislation and has called for a simplified EU legislative framework. At the latest Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting, the Council welcomed the ongoing work by the Commission and supported the need to take a holistic approach in future work on the welfare of animals.
The aim of the strategy for the ‘Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012-2015’ is to simplify animal welfare legislation and ultimately, to facilitate its enforcement.
In addition, the Commission stressed the need to reinforce or make better use of actions which the Commission already performs, including the development of tools to strengthen Member States' compliance with existing legislation, support for international cooperation, the establishment of a level playing field for European producers, and the provision of appropriate information to consumers and the public.
Several Member States have supported the Commission’s considerations over the introduction of a simplified EU legislative framework based on outcome-based animal welfare indicators. At the same time, they stressed that indicators cannot necessarily replace specific resource-based provisions.
Following the European Parliament’s adoption of Written Declaration on animal transportation in March this year, the Council meeting suggested a number of new rules, including those covering internal height, loading densities for different weight categories of pigs and the design of watering and temperature monitoring systems.
Finally, the Council has called on the Commission to strengthen its international strategy on animal welfare in order to increase the value of animal welfare, to limit distortions of competition and to ensure at least equivalence between EU and third-country operators.
Turning to bird flu news, two more ostrich farms in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape Provinces of South Africa have been found to be affected by H7N1 low–pathogenic avian influenza during routine surveillance. Egypt's National Research Centre has announced that the first vaccine against bird flu is to be produced by Egyptian scientists.