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Stackyard News Nov 06

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Defra publishes its vision for the future of animal welfare

A strategy for improving animal welfare in England by building new relationships between Government and its key partners, is published for consultation today.


suffolk sheep

The Animal Welfare Delivery Strategy aims to increase society's understanding and expertise in caring for animals, and to improve welfare above and beyond the baseline standards set by law.

It suggests innovative ways of doing this, such as improving the labelling of food with information about the welfare conditions of the animals from which it was produced, allowing consumers to make informed choices about what they buy.

Other proposals include building agreement on global animal welfare standards, which can be embedded in future international laws and treaties.

Ben Bradshaw, Minister for Animal Health and Welfare, said: “Everyone who keeps or works with animals can help improve their care. While it's our job in Government to set minimum standards by law, the public and our key partners also have a vital role to play. This strategy suggests ways we can take responsibility for different aspects of this issue and work together to achieve good animal welfare – it's a subject that affects us all and we want to hear what others think of our vision.”

In all, the strategy proposes five key goals:

  • Improving the quality and range of training and education for animal keepers
  • Enforcing welfare rules efficiently to protect animals while putting as little burden as possible on their keepers
  • Providing more comprehensive and standardised information to consumers on the welfare history of animal products
  • Working towards internationally-agreed standards for animal welfare
    Developing a robust and thorough system for measuring welfare standards

Notes to editors

  1. The Animal Welfare Delivery Strategy builds on the principles set out in the 2004 Great Britain Animal Health and Welfare Strategy and is consistent with the new Animal Welfare Act.
  2. The strategy has been developed with external advisers and responds to requests from animal interest groups for more detailed information on the Government's priorities in this area.
  3. The strategy covers England only. Devolved Administrations are considering similar issues and Defra will share information on best practice with them.

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