Organic Inspector Trainings for Animal Welfare
Start date: Sep 1, 2015,
End date: Aug 31, 2018
Animal welfare improvement is the purpose of our project. All of the five organisations involved in our proposal are highly respected organisations and include specialists in inspection and certification of organic livestock farms. Organic management aims to deliver excellent animal welfare and independent annual inspection and certification aims to confirm this and provide a guarantee that animals have a ‘good life’ that meets the high expectations of consumers who buy organic animal products. Any failure to deliver on this aspect risks undermining the reputation of organic inspection and certification through the EU. The problem that we will address is that the legally defined standards for delivering welfare are resourced based e.g. space per animal in housing, type of housing, type of feed, are becoming outdated. Experience and recent scientific knowledge indicates that this approach alone is now insufficient. A new scientifically informed evaluation of the animals to determine their ‘welfare outcomes’ is more meaningful in underpinning the inspection process and aiding communication of any deficiencies to farmers in a way that they can understand and act upon.
The use of ‘welfare outcomes’ is a new and emerging approach that each of the partners has been developing in their own standards and inspection systems. The time is now right for these pioneering organisations to come together to share experience, evaluate our current work and developed a common and coherent concept. When this is agreed we will make it into an accessible and easily disseminated training and learning package available to other organisations with the support of an University to support an optimum training approach. We aim to add this to the widely accepted inspection toolkit that has already been successfully initiated under a previous project by the lead partner organisation GfRS.
Methodology, project management and quality assurance
Our proposal carefully assigns responsibility and coordinates a stepwise approach to each of these activities as well as ensuring proactive dissemination through multiple platforms including seminars, specialist media and the internet to communication the project outputs and foresees an independent evaluation of the work and impact of the project.
The work of the partners will be facilitated by Skype meetings, meetings in person and training events. Our approach to welfare assessment will be piloted and evaluated on farms over the widely different farming systems associated with the diverse geographical locations of the partners and will, therefore, produce robust output that is widely relevant and applicable throughout the whole of the EU.
Impact and long term benefits
This work will allow high quality and consistent learning by organic inspectors to improve their performance in and delivery of animal welfare using a harmonised robust approach to assessment. It will benefit the individuals involved, their organisations, the organic farmers and the wider organic sector that will have access to the high quality ‘Inspector toolkit’ learning and training materials. It will have a positive and lasting impact on the welfare of thousands of farmed animals throughout the EU.
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