Animal production has become increasingly industrialised over the last five decades. Recent crises such as BSE, swine fever, foot and mouth disease and avian influenza, and the activities of consumer and animal welfare organisations have raised public awareness that animal production is more than just an industry and that many other issues have to be considered.
In this project, we focus on the fact that farm animal welfare has become an issue of increasing public significance and concern. Recent surveys indicated that European citizens show a strong commitment to animal welfare and many consumers express a willingness to pay a premium price for a product emanating from a welfare-friendly production system (Eurobarometer, 2007). But their expressed willingness often fails to result in purchase. Consumers apparent reluctance to actually buy these products in the shop may at least partly reflect a lack of transparency in the market for animal products, (consumers are unable to recognize animal friendly products), as well as the limited assortment of such products. Clearly, it is extremely important for the industry, both from a corporate social responsibility and a market point of view, to re-build and maintain consumer trust related to how food-producing animals are housed and handled across Europe. This requirement demands the development of credible, reliable and transparent welfare assessment systems as well as product information and certification schemes to support communication to the consumer about the ways in which the animal food products are produced.
The present project addresses the above needs by developing a Stakeholder Platform (European Animal Welfare Platform; EAWP) that will facilitate the exchange of knowledge, experience and expertise in order to effectively support the implementation of scientifically based welfare assessment and information systems, improvement strategies, market initiatives, research and development and policy formulation.
Funded under 7th FWP (Seventh Framework Programme)