Belgian Authorities Respond to Critical Welfare Report

BELGIUM - The Belgian authorities have responded with new measures following an audit carried out by the European Commission DG SANCO into the welfare of layers, calves and pigs last year.
calendar icon 11 January 2010
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The European Commission Health and Consumers Directorate General (DG SANCO), Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) has published a report following a specific audit carried out in Belgium in May last year.

According to the executive summary, the report describes the outcome of a specific audit carried out by the FVO in Belgium from 4 to 13 May 2009.

The objective of the mission was to verify that official controls are carried out in accordance with the multi-annual national control plan (MANCP) referred to in Article 41 of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 and in compliance with Community law. In addition, the audit sought to specifically verify the implementation of EU animal welfare legislation applicable to pig and laying hen farms, animals at the time of slaughter, during transport, and to follow up certain recommendations from FVO reports 2008- 7688 and 8043/2006.

The report concludes that there have been improvements noted in official controls on the farm animal welfare sector since the last mission on this topic in 2006. However, enforcement action in the laying hen sector is not bringing about the required improvements regarding overstocking of cages and enforcement of non-compliances in the pig sector is inconsistent.

Some preliminary steps have been made to address the recommendations on animal welfare during transport made following the mission in January 2008 and the fitness of animals for transport is a priority. However, the scope of competent authority checks on animal welfare in assembly centres is limited and as a result journey times are not respected.

Animal welfare at the time of stunning and restraint stunning in slaughterhouses is demonstrably not a clear priority for those carrying out checks.

The report makes a number of recommendations addressed to the Belgian competent authorities, aimed at rectifying the identified shortcomings and further enhancing the control measures in place.

Further Reading

- You can view the full EC FVO report by clicking here.

Further Reading

- You can view the response of the Competent Authorities of Belgium to the recommendations of Mission report by clicking here.
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