Husbandry conditions of more than 700000 animals controlled in EU animal welfare inspections in 2008


<p>A so-called EU animal welfare inspection was in 2008 conducted in a total of 655 production farms. Advice based on the Animal Welfare Act was issued in 184 cases, or in ca. 28% of the inspections. No severe negligence calling for action under the Animal Welfare Act was found. The husbandry conditions of a total of more than 700000 animals were inspected. Violations were reported in a total of 22% of the farms, which is slightly more than in 2007, when 19% of the farms failed to fulfil animal welfare requirements in all respects.</p>

Despite the minor increase in the total number of violations found in the inspections, the proportion of negligence decreased over the previous year for almost all the inspected individual species. Calves were an exception to this, with the number of violations rising 11% units over 2007, which contributed to the increase in the total percentage of violations.

The problems that were found were to a large extent the same as in earlier years. With calves, violations related to the cleanness of the bedding, feed and drinking water have increased at an alarming rate. The lack of bookkeeping was one of the most common violations for almost all of the inspected species, as it has been also in the previous years.

The member states of the EU control the compliance with the minimum welfare requirements for production animals by conducting every year inspections on a representative number of production farms. The farms ordered for inspection in 2008 included ca. 1.5% of calf farms, 3% of pig farms, 10% of laying hen farms and ca. 7% of duck and goose farms as well as fur animal farms. The purpose is to conduct a detailed inspection of compliance with valid animal welfare regulations. If violations are found in the inspections, the producer is ordered to rectify the violation and, if necessary, urgent action is taken to ensure the wellbeing of the animal. The inspections are conducted by municipal veterinarians under order of the State Provincial Offices.

Calf and pig farms have been inspected since 1998, laying hen farms and fur animal farms since 2000, duck and goose farms since 2008 and sheep and goats since 2009. In the future, EU animal welfare inspections will be conducted also on other production animal species.

For more information, please contact:
Taina Mikkonen, Section Head, tel. +358 (0) 40 8308404

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