The panel on Animal Health and Welfare (AHAW) of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has recently launched an open consultation on Farm to Fork guidance concerning animal welfare.

The European Commission mandated the EFSA to develop scientific opinions on several animal welfare issues. This draft scientific opinion is now open for consultation online until Monday, March 28, 2022.

The EFSA provided a draft scientific opinion on a document that presents guidance methodology for the development of a series of mandates affecting animal health and welfare.

Such mandates include the welfare of animals during transport, i.e. calves; laying hens; broilers; pigs; ducks; geese and quails; as well as dairy cows.

The guidance document will define methods and strategies, list and describe welfare consequences that are known to affect animals.

A new methodology for assessing welfare through comparisons of animals’ farm experience and “natural” conditions, for example if they were offered unlimited space, will be included in the document, according to the EFSA.

Opinions, which were requested by the European Commission as a “key component” to the Farm to Fork strategy, will be published between June 2022 and March 2023, the EFSA stated.

Under the Farm to Fork strategy, the European Commission announced a revision of animal welfare legislation by the end of 2023 to align such to latest scientific evidence, to simplify enforcement and ensure a higher level of welfare.

Subject to revision are directives on the protection of animals kept for farming purposes, laying hens, broilers, pigs and calves, as well as regulations on the protection of animals during transport and at the time of killing are planned to be revised.

The topic of welfare issues was also recently up for debate in the European Parliament. An implementation report by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI), which demands animal welfare legislation to be uniformly implemented, was adopted.