The European Commission (EC) took initiative to define priority problems in the field of animal welfare on the international level and to take coordinated actions to solve them. This week, a group of experts representing organisations of the public and private sectors have gathered at the kick-off meeting of the EU Platform on Animal Welfare organised by the EC.
The Platform on Animal Welfare was established and approved in January this year and it is aimed at providing advisory services and assisting the EC with coordination of actions related to the implementation of legislation regulating animal welfare issues both within and beyond the EU.
The European Commissioner for health and food safety Vytenis Andriukaitis who opened the kick-off meeting underlined: “The activity of the Platform has to promote a dialogue among competent authorities, businesses, civil society and scientists, help address animal welfare issues within the context of the integrated food policy, combine the implementation of the One Health strategy with the issues of food waste and antimicrobial resistance“.
During the kick-off meeting, experts from different countries exchanged their insights into how this platform might contribute to the improvement of legal regulation of animal welfare, implementation of common welfare standards, promotion of public and business awareness. In the speakers‘ opinion, the issues of animal (in particular pig) welfare during transport and slaughter are of particular relevance today, therefore, those issues namely are going to be discussed in the near future.
One of the priorities of the Platform is to ensure uniform application of EU animal welfare standards in all the EU Member States. It was emphasised that the aim should be not the development of new legislation, but rather communication and development of a dialogue between the public and private sectors and sharing good practices. Furthermore, the Platform would not duplicate but rather combine activities of other stakeholders, promote different initiatives.
The Platform will regularly organise fora every half a year during which an overview of work done, new initiatives will be presented; it will promote discussions and help disseminate new practices.
Lithuania will be represented in the Platform by a specialist from the State Food and Veterinary Service and one independent scientific expert, which will be selected by the Commission into a group of ten independent external experts.