FVO Warns Italy Unprepared for Battery Cage Ban

ITALY - Following a recent inspection, the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) has reported improvements in slaughterhouse controls but has raised concerns over the apparent lack of preparedness for the battery cage ban as 84 per cent of egg premises still use conventional, unenriched cages. Furthermore, forced moulting is permitted in one region.
calendar icon 22 October 2010
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This report describes the outcome of a FVO specific audit in Italy carried out from 15 to 26 March 2010, as part of the general audit of Italy carried out under the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 on official food and feed controls.

The specific audit evaluated the implementation of national measures aimed at the control of animal welfare on farm and during transport.

It is concluded that controls on farm are being carried out regularly according to the National Plan for Animal Welfare but the Central Competent Authority (CCA) has not provided sufficient guidance and interpretation on certain requirements of the Directive on pigs to enable Official Veterinarians (OVs) to effectively enforce official controls relating to fibre and energy requirements for pregnant sows and gilts, enrichment material and the practice of routine mutilations.

The laying hen sector in Italy is not making any concerted effort to replace unenriched with enriched cages in the lead-in to the ban on unenriched cages in 2012. Approximately 84 per cent of premises in Italy are still using unenriched cages, one and a half years before the ban on their use will come into effect. Overstocking of premises was seen in both regions visited but not always detected by the Competent Authority (CA); sanctions imposed are not sufficiently dissuasive to ensure compliance. Forced moulting was tolerated by the CA in Lombardy.

The system of controls for checks on the fitness of animals upon arrival at slaughterhouses and consequent enforcement of certain requirements of Regulation EC No 1/2005 has improved since the last mission in 2008. OVs have been well informed and trained on the requirements of the Regulation and cases had been seen where local CAs had applied enforcement measures to ensure it was complied with in this regard, with the exception of the lack of measures against private practitioners who had provided false or misleading certification on the fitness of animals for transport.

Controls on the condition of animals arriving from long distance transportation are being routinely carried out, but controls on the accuracy of journey logs accompanying animals to their destination are failing to spot basic deficiencies in their completion which may have important consequences for the welfare of the animals being transported.

The report makes a number of recommendations to the Italian CAs, aimed at rectifying the shortcomings identified and enhancing the implementing and control measures in place.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

Further Reading

- You can view the response of the Italian authority by clicking here.
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