How are animals fed and treated? In the aftermath of the mad cow and other food scare crises, European consumers are more and more concerned about “farm to fork” food safety and where their food comes from.
EU research can help improve animal breeding and living conditions. The European Commission discussed farm animal welfare research at European level with researchers and other stakeholders during a seminar held in Brussels yesterday. Participants addressed results achieved so far by EU-supported research, and identified European Union’s requirements for future research in this area. The Commission currently supports projects directly related to animal welfare with €7.5 million. In addition, several animal health projects also contain aspects of welfare research. Research projects examined transport of cattle over long distances, animal welfare in organic farming, feather pecking in poultry and consumer concerns. This is the first time that scientists involved in EU-funded research are brought together with representatives of consumer and welfare groups to discuss how research can help implement and develop innovative animal welfare and food safety policies.
Improving animal welfare is an increasingly important aspect of intensive livestock production due, to a large extent, to increased consumer concern about the source of animal products. The European Commission has supported animal welfare research projects under the current and previous European research and development Framework programmes. These projects focus directly on welfare-related research and also on public opinion about animal welfare issues. The forthcoming Sixth Framework programme (2002-2006) will look into animal welfare as a part of policy-related research, with the aim of providing healthy food supplies and exploring new fields of research.
Stéphane Hogan | alphagalileo
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