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Animal welfare. New ISO document

ISO published new technical specification ISO/TS 34700:2016Animal welfare management – General requirements and guidance for organizations in the food supply chain at the end 2016.

As expected this new document will help the food and feed industry to develop an animal welfare plan that is aligned with the principles of the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE) Terrestrial Animal Health Code (TAHC) and ensure the welfare of farm animals across the supply chain.

The concept of the five freedoms:

  • freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition;
  • freedom from fear and distress;
  • freedom from physical and thermal discomfort;
  • freedom from pain, injury and disease;
  • freedom to express normal patterns of behavior,

provides guidance on the understanding of animal welfare, on identifying the relevant aspects to be considered and on implementing relevant practices. The general principles for the welfare of animals in livestock production systems provide a basis for practical requirements to ensure that the five freedoms are met.

Application of this document is limited to aspects for which process or species-specific chapters are available in the OIE TAHC. At the time of publication of this document, they are:

  • Chapter 7.2: Transport of animals by sea;
  • Chapter 7.3: Transport of animals by land;
  • Chapter 7.4: Transport of animals by air;
  • Chapter 7.5: Slaughter of animals;
  • Chapter 7.9: Animal welfare and beef cattle production systems;
  • Chapter 7.10: Animal welfare and broiler chicken production systems; and
  • Chapter 7.11: Animal welfare and dairy cattle production systems.

This document is designed to guide users in conducting a gap analysis and developing an animal welfare plan that is aligned with the OIE TAHC. It can also be used to facilitate the implementation of any public or private sector animal welfare standards that meet at least the OIE TAHC.

“The ISO technical specification will provide an important framework supporting the implementation of the OIE’s international standards for animal welfare around the world,” says Dr. Monique Eloit, director General of the OIE. “Consistent implementation of humane and ethical rearing conditions for animals provides certainty for farmers and producers, and confidence for consumers.”