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Logo BMEL Animal Welfare Initiative BMEL Animal Welfare Initiative: Minding animals - new ways to improve animal welfare

BMEL Animal Welfare Initiative

Minding animals - new ways to improve animal welfare

On 17 September 2014, Federal Minister Christian Schmidt launched a new initiative for more animal welfare. With the start of the Animal Welfare Initiative, he wants to bring animal welfare further into the mainstream of society.

Federal Minister Schmidt called upon industry, science, politics and consumers to pursue new paths together. "Animal welfare relates to animals both in their stalls and in our minds. Since 2002, animal welfare has been enshrined as a State goal in the Basic Law. The time has come for us to reach an agreement together on what this means in concrete terms, for instance for farm animal husbandry," said Schmidt.

"The aim of this initiative is to ensure further improvements in the conditions in which animals are kept, and in particular the husbandry conditions of farm animals, and to bring these conditions more into line with animal needs," added Schmidt. Our concern is to give support to existing and future initiatives launched by the value-added chain concerned, from farm via trade to the table, as these initiatives have in the past proved demonstrably to promote high animal welfare standards. We are aiming for measures of a "binding voluntary nature". The initiative will initially focus on the industry taking its own initiative. However, where the industry's commitment fails to result in the necessary improvements, a change in the regulatory framework may also prove necessary.

Key points of the Animal Welfare Initiative

With its "Minding animals" initiative, the BMEL is implementing the Animal Welfare Campaign set out in the coalition agreement. Animal welfare associations, the industry, the federal states and the scientific community are already engaged in working out many proposals and measures.

The industry initiative for animal welfare by the German Farmers' Association and the trade and the animal welfare label of the German Animal Welfare Federation constitute voluntary measures that combine practical progress in animal welfare with value-added for producers and consumers.

A single nationwide framework is needed for these important contributions in order to achieve wide-ranging improvement in animal husbandry. With its initiative, BMEL is assuming responsibility for the coordination of the challenges that need to be pooled and those that may need to be governed by legislation at federal level. There is no other way to achieve nationwide improvements in animal welfare in Germany. The initiative sees itself as an ongoing process and as a communal effort by politics, industry and civil society.

Group of Experts on Animal Welfare

The initiative is being monitored by the Animal Welfare Group of Experts that met for its inaugural meeting on 6 October 2014. Headed by Gert Lindemann, the Group of Experts is to provide advice to BMEL regarding the implementation of the initiative and the impact assessment, and to promote the feedback into practice and society. The 16 members include select experts who have in the past already made important contributions in the field of animal welfare in farm animal husbandry.

Key elements for the inspection and approval of housing equipment

As a measure to implement the "Minding animals - new ways to improve animal welfare" animal welfare initiative, Federal Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt presented a paper which will form the basis for discussions on welfare-oriented requirements for new housing equipment.

As of:
31.10.14

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