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Life Sciences research on animal welfare used to inform Defra policy

Warwick researchers from the School of Life Sciences have been working with Defra (project AW0510) to help them target inspections of animal welfare on British farms.

Every year the Defra agency Animal Health (now AHVLA) inspects thousands of farms in Britain to ensure that animals are cared for in accordance with legislation designed to protect their welfare. However, these are not the only inspections taking place on British farms, many farms are members of certification schemes which allows them to sell their produce as ‘farm assured’ or ‘organic’. Compliance with scheme standards is inspected at 12-18 month intervals. Defra wanted to know whether these certified farms were better at complying with animal welfare legislation than non certified farms.

Warwick worked with 15 certification schemes and AHVLA to compile a confidential dataset of certified and non-certified farms that had been inspected by Animal Health in the last six years. Farms that were ‘farm assured’ or ‘organic’ were more likely comply with animal welfare legislation than farms that were not members of schemes.

Defra are including the results from this research to select farms for inspection; certified farms are less likely to be inspected. This targets resources to where they will be most effective at improving animal welfare on British farms.

Researchers: Dr Amy Kilbride and Professor Laura Green

View the project report:
Study to assess whether membership of a Farm Assurance Scheme affects compliance with animal welfare legislation and code - AW0510


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