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AVEC Annual Report 2012: Animal Welfare and Health

09 November 2012

In its annual report for 2012, the Association of Poultry Processors and Poultry Trade in the EU Countries, AVEC, describes the progress that has been made over the last year on the appropriate use of antimicrobials, the Commission's Animal Welfare Strategy 2012-2015, cloning, protection of animals during transport and implementation of the Broiler Welfare Directive - an overview of the main issues in the EU.

Appropriate Use of Antimicrobials

Current conventional poultry production in the EU meets the strictest criteria in the world in terms of food safety, animal health and welfare and sustainable production and this must be recognised by regulators and consumers. We must guard against introduction of additional mandatory criteria that would weaken the competitiveness of EU poultry production by imposing additional costs that hamper the industries' ability to continue to improve resource efficiency.

a.v.e.c. welcomes the Animal Welfare Communication and agrees that harmonised enforcement of existing welfare legislation is needed to avoid internal market distortions and that this must extend to full reciprocity on welfare and other regulations in bilateral and multilateral negotiations.

The following main common drivers affecting the welfare status of animals in the EU are: lack of enforcement of EU legislation by the Member States in a number of areas; consumers' lack of appropriate information on animal welfare; and the need for simplified legislation based on clear principles for animal welfare.

In a.v.e.c.'s experience, the harmonised interpretation and implementation of EU legislation is a real challenge and therefore we strongly support the Commission Communication findings.

In its dialogue with consumers, the Commission must stress the already high standards applied in the EU animal production and prepare consumers for the higher costs of better standards.

Regulation 1099/2009 on the protection of animals at time of killing

The implementation of Reg. 1099/2009 will start from 1 Jan 2013. Food business operators have to draw up and implement standard operating procedures to ensure that killing and related operations are carried out according to the requirements. a.v.e.c. members are committed and have already started the important work with manufacturers of stunning equipment.

The Commission is required to submit to the European Parliament and Council a report on the various stunning methods for poultry and in particular multiple-bird water-bath stunning taking into account welfare, socio-economic, and environmental impacts. A private consultancy company has already started drafting the external study. a.v.e.c. members are proactive and are collaborating by providing information on the questions being addressed.

Requests by UK and The Netherlands to change the stated electrical frequency range are currently being considered by EFSA. An opinion is expected in months to come.

Stunning for religious slaughter is a complicated issue. There are disagreements even within different Muslim communities about the stunning of poultry under Halal slaughter. For a.v.e.c. it is important that, whatever method of slaughter is adopted the welfare of the bird is protected and that for all meat, whether imported or from within the EU, the same rules are applied to avoid distortion of competition. The possible derogation for religious slaughter must not be a loophole that may seriously undermine the objectives of the EU regulation or the common market, both within the EU (through different application by different Member States) and with third countries.


The Parliament adopted a declaration in March 2012 demanding a maximum 8- hour limit for the transport of live animals to slaughter.

a.v.e.c. welcomes that the Commission in its Communication states that enforcement of current legislation on transport Regulation 1/2005 has to be implemented before stricter rules are set and is willing to cooperate for harmonising existing rules at EU level. a.v.e.c. has contributed to this by drafting the 'EPB Air Cargo Guide to Transport of Hatching Eggs and Chicks'1, intended to advise on best practice in transport.

Implementation of the Broiler Welfare Directive 43/2007


November 2012

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