FVO Raises Welfare Concerns after Audit

CZECH REPUBLIC - The Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) of the European Commission has remarked on a number of improvements in welfare monitoring in its latest audit report. However, it comments on an apparent lack of preparedness to move the 85 per cent of laying hens still in battery cages to enriched cages before the 2012 deadline.
calendar icon 24 December 2010
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The FVO has published its Final Report of a specific welfare audit carried out in the Czech Republic between 1 and 10 June 2010 in order to evaluate the implementation of controls for animal welfare on farms and during transport.

This report describes the outcome of a Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) specific audit in the Czech Republic, which took place from 1 to 10 June 2010, as part of the general audit of the Czech Republic carried out under the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 on official food and feed controls of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004.

The specific audit evaluated the implementation of national measures, aimed at the control of animal welfare and how these are organised and carried out in accordance with relevant provisions of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004, and the multi-annual national control plan (MANCP) prepared by the Czech Republic. Specifically the evaluation included measures aimed at the control of animal welfare on farms and during transport. Attention was paid to examining the implementation of corrective actions undertaken in response to the recommendations made in the report of previous FVO animal welfare missions to the Czech Republic.

The report concludes that the CCA has addressed all recommendations of the previous FVO reports on animal welfare on farms and during transport, except two recommendations from the 2007 report and one from the 2005 report. The system for checks on animal welfare is well documented and the prioritisation of checks has been formalised. Although the staff has received updated instructions and generally adequate training to keep up to date with their competences, some procedures need further improvement and time to be implemented. The internal audit division of the CCA has carried out audits on animal welfare in most of the regions and supervision carried out according to planned frequencies; however, the effectiveness of inspections is not yet fully verified. Although sanctions were generally dissuasive for the cases seen, the enforcement system does not easily allow the CA to apply some sanctions.

Eighty-five per cent of laying hens are still in unenriched cages and the CA and the laying hen sector have insufficient plans to ensure the deadline of 1 January 2012 is met for phasing out this production system.

Regarding the pig sector, the willingness to implement EU legislation noted in previous mission is continuing. Holdings visited generally met the requirements and as two-thirds already have group housing systems, it should be feasible to respect the deadline of 1 January 2013 for group housing of sows. However, the composition of the manipulable material was not equivalent to that indicated in EU legislation and tail docking was carried out systematically.

There has been progress with the implementation of checks on transport but there were several shortcomings. These were mainly regarding long-distance transport of unweaned calves. In addition, although the CA verified that journeys times were realistic prior to transport, they did not fully ensure that journey times were subsequently respected, as journey logs were not systematically filled in and returned, and records from the satellite navigation system were not checked.

The multi-annual national control plan (MANCP) has not yet updated the information for prioritising operations in relation to animal welfare.

The report makes a number of recommendations to the Czech competent authorities, 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 Czech comments on the FVO's draft report and suggestions report by clicking here.
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