Recommendations for more animal welfare
On 22 January 2015, Federal Minister Schmidt received the first interim report drawn up by the "Group of Experts on Animal Welfare". Minister Schmidt had tasked the Group of Experts on Animal Welfare with flanking his animal welfare initiative and making proposals on how animal welfare in Germany could be improved.
Headed by the former Agriculture Minister of Lower Saxony, Gert Lindeman, the group is of particular help to the BMEL in assessing the impact of policy measures and in establishing indicators. On 6 October 2014, the Group of Experts met in Berlin for its first session.
"I wish to express my thanks to the Group of Experts for the commitment it has shown in recent months and for its recommendations," said Federal Minister Schmidt during the presentation. "We now have numerous initiatives in place that all share the same goal: achieving better husbandry conditions for farm animals. I therefore gladly take on board the Group of Experts' request for tighter coordination between the Federal Government's animal welfare initiatives and those of the Länder. I am willing to integrate the Länder initiatives into my animal welfare initiative 'Minding animals'."
The Group of Experts presents five initial recommendations in this interim report, the exact wording of which is available at "Downloads".
Here are the recommendations with brief explanations.
1. Animal welfare must be measurable
Animal protection and welfare should be made more measurable by establishing a basis of verifiable facts.
To this end, a so-called animal welfare indicator system should be developed and implemented to ensure monitoring of animal welfare in livestock husbandry throughout the country.
2. The Federal Government must pool existing initiatives in a "Federal Government-Länder initiative"
The fact that there are so many of ongoing trials and activities run by the Federal Government and the Länder means that the Federal Government and the Länder need to draw up a joint animal welfare plan in order to pool the current Federal Government/Länder initatives and specify uniform time frames.
The Group of Experts deems it necessary that the Federal Government and the Länder prepare a joint overview of all Länder initiatives, round tables and animal welfare plans. This overview should also comprise the different support schemes, research activities and model and demonstration projects run by the Länder.
3. There must be an end to non-curative interventions
The Group of Experts provides particular guidance on what should be borne in mind in the voluntary agreements to end non-curative interventions. Partial solutions, for instance, should be taken forward as verifiable interim steps. Training of, and advice to farmers, case-by-case recommendations, knowledge transfer and guidance documents provide an important foundation.
Voluntary agreements must contain specific deadlines and measurable steps. They must provide for a regular evaluation and impact assessment.
4. Testing and approval procedures for housing equipment
The aim is that, following an adequate transitional period, all mass-produced housing equipment will be tested before being placed on the market.
At present, this procedure has, as an initial step, only been planned for laying hen husbandry. The Group of Experts recommends that pullets and parent animals should also be involved right from the very beginning. An extension of the scheme to cover other farm animals should be envisaged.
5. Focus on trade
The Federal Government should, among other things, examine the possibility of rejecting foods in international trade that have been produced in breach of animal welfare provisions.
- As of:
- Position Paper from The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Denmark "Establishment of an EU Platform on Animal Welfare" (PDF, 204 KB, File does not meet accessibility standards.)
- Joint Declaration on Animal Welfare - Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands (PDF, 236 KB, File does not meet accessibility standards.)
- Revision of Council Directive 2008/120/EG laying down minimum standards for the protection of pigs (Codified version) (PDF, 350 KB, File does not meet accessibility standards.)
- Revision of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 - Englische Version (PDF, 390 KB, File does not meet accessibility standards.)
- Animal Genetic Resources in Germany (PDF, 2 MB, File does not meet accessibility standards.)
- Agricultural products in Germany at a glance (infographics)
- Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 of the European Parlament and of the Council of 12 June 2013 (PDF, 984 KB, File does not meet accessibility standards.)
- Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 577/2013 of 28 June 2013 (PDF, 14 MB, File does not meet accessibility standards.)
- Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 561/2016 of 11 April 2016 - animal health certificate (PDF, 650 KB, File does not meet accessibility standards.)
- Commission Decision of 22 December 2006 (2007/25/EC) (PDF, 265 KB, File does not meet accessibility standards.)
- Commission Decision of 28 September 2009 (2009/821/EC) (PDF, 2 MB, File does not meet accessibility standards.)
- Directive 2013/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 June 2013 (PDF, 711 KB, File does not meet accessibility standards.)
- Council Directive 92/65/EEC of 13 July 1992 (PDF, 1 MB, File does not meet accessibility standards.)
- Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 139/2013 of 7 January 2013 (PDF, 920 KB, File does not meet accessibility standards.)
- Commission Regulation (EU) No 206/2010 of 12 March 2010 (PDF, 25 MB, File does not meet accessibility standards.)