24/10/2019 2 min

ANSES becomes a European Reference Centre for Animal Welfare

ANSES has been appointed to lead the new European Reference Centre for the welfare of poultry and other small farmed animals, in collaboration with its partner organisations in Spain, Italy and Denmark. This is the second centre devoted to animal welfare in Europe after the centre for pig welfare. From January 2020, the Agency will coordinate this new reference centre over the following five years. Its task will be to contribute to improving animal welfare on European farms at all key stages of the animals' existence, from birth or hatching through to the end of their lives.

The role of this new reference centre (EURCAW-SA) will be to help improve the application of European regulations on the welfare and protection of poultry, rabbits and other small farm animals. This will involve the European Commission and the competent authorities of each of the 28 Member States developing and disseminating knowledge and tools for optimising official animal welfare controls at all stages of production.

EURCAW-SA will provide scientific and technical expertise on animal welfare to competent authorities and public policy-makers, and to any national scientific support network or organisation, mainly through training and the sharing of innovation and research results. It will provide the knowledge generated by a strong scientific network to help these actors and stakeholders adopt the indicators and methods needed for assessing and improving animal welfare, while at the same time standardising application of the existing animal welfare regulations within the European Union.

A European scientific network

The European scientific network responsible for coordinating these actions is made up of various partner organisations in France, Spain, Italy and Denmark.

In France, ANSES is in charge of coordinating the centre and will largely draw on the scientific skills of its Ploufragan-Plouzané-Niort Laboratory in the area of health and welfare of poultry and rabbits.

The Agency will also rely on the extended network of the National Reference Centre for Animal Welfare, with scientists from INRA, ITAVI, veterinary schools (VetAgroSup, ENSV) and Infoma (the Ministry of Agriculture's national staff training institute).

In Spain, the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA) will participate in EURCAW, with an extended network consisting of the Farm Animal Welfare Education Centre (FAWEC), the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and the Animal Behaviour and Welfare Department of Neiker-Tecnalia (the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development).  In Denmark, the Department of Animal Science at Aarhus University (ANIS/AU) will be the main participant. In Italy, the Lombardy and Emilia Romagna Experimental Zootechnic Institute (IZSLER) and its extensive network (University of Milan, University of Bologna) will take part in this programme.