ROME, Italy. The United Nations has adopted groundbreaking policy recommendations, placing animal welfare concerns at the heart of global farming. The new policy recommendations for animal welfare in farming suggest welfare concerns should be front and centre of government policy on farming systems.
The measures were adopted at a meeting of the United Nations (UN) Committee on World Farming Security in Rome, Italy, this week.
Animal welfare organisation World Animal Protection hailed the news, describing the adoption of “groundbreaking global policy recommendations” as a first in the 71-year history of the UN. The recommendations include improving animal welfare, preventing the unnecessary use of antibiotics and improving biosecurity to prevent livestock disease.
The UN’s policy recommendations postulate:
• Enable access to veterinary services, vaccinations and medication, including antimicrobials.
• Improve animal health management through biosafety and biosecurity by following OIE standards.
• Promote the prudent use of antibiotics, but prevent unnecessary use and phase out uses for animal growth promotion.
• Improve animal welfare by delivering on the OIE’s five freedoms.
• Promote access to good-quality feed and sustainable feeding practices.
• Promote a physical environment and genetic section that ensures compliance with OIE welfare standards.
The recommendations set out the inclusion of “substantive language” on animal welfare, which is supposed to make it clear that governments ought to consider animal welfare in farming systems. Policy should emphasis the fact that animals must be raised to without pain, distress and hunger. It also says animals should be free to display natural behaviours, something enshrined in the World Organisation for Animal Health’s (OIE) five freedoms principles.