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Organic inspectors agree criteria for animals
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More animal welfare in organic inspections: in order to achieve that objective 215 organic control agencies, associations and universities in various European countries have come together in “Projekt Aware". At a seminar in Bristol they recently agreed animal welfare criteria and inspection concepts for different species.
The group said in a press release that these regulations could be applied across the whole of Europe. They make it possible to apply hard criteria regarding animals in a more flexible way in EU member states, said Chris Atkinson from the Soil Association. “In this way, we want to take account of the different conditions in the different countries and leave some leeway for local application.”
With the Aware programme, supported by the EU, the actors are reacting to the fact that when organic controls are carried our only resource-based prescriptions like size of stall or bedding are inspected. It has not been possible to check with agreed Europe-wide methods whether animals are really being treated better. But announced and unannounced inspections carried out by organic control organisations must ensure that shortcomings in animal welfare on organic farms are recognised immediately and are rapidly rectified. Inspectors visiting organic farms should have the special skills required to carry out controls of this kind.
The project is being coordinated by the German control organisation Gesellschaft für Ressourcenschutz (GfRS). “Any organic inspector wanting to examine organic animal keeping needs special proficiency in animal welfare,” says GfRS Managing DirectorDr. Jochen Neuendorff. He added that this was the reason why a training curriculum specifically for organic inspectors will be drawn up in the next phase of the project under the direction of the University of Göttingen.