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STATEMENT FROM CHAIRMAN

FAWAC Chairman

 

Since its establishment in 2002 FAWAC has been recognised for its role in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of farm animals. FAWAC brings together a diverse range of interests and enables representatives from different backgrounds to exchange views, and seek consensus on various issues and developments relevant to the care of farm animals.  It provides considerable useful advice to the Minister and has been particularly successful in publishing a series of welfare guideline booklets on a range of areas as dairy and beef farming, horses, best practice during transport and chickens.

On foot of the introduction of national legislation giving effect to a series of European Directives on the protection of animals, including emergency and humane killing and slaughter of animals, FAWAC agreed to undertake studies on the specific issue of managing injured animals on farm. It subsequently produced the booklet “Animal Welfare Guidelines for Managing Acutely Injured Livestock on Farm” which was launched by the Minister in September 2009. These guidelines are aimed at assisting veterinary practitioners and farmers in arriving at an informed decision on the method of dealing with injured animals, having regard to animal welfare and public health.

In response to the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Scientific Report on Animal Health and Welfare, FAWAC produced the guideline booklet “Code of Practice for the Welfare of Pigs”.  These guidelines were launched by the Minister in February 2010.

FAWAC have commenced preparation on its next welfare guidelines booklet for a “Code of Practice for the Welfare of Laying Hens”.  The guidelines are intended to encourage all those who care for laying hens to adopt the highest standards of husbandry.

The Department is progressing a number of animal welfare related commitments from the Programme for Government 2007 and 2009 including consolidation of responsibility for the welfare of all animals (including non-farm animals) within the Department and the introduction of a comprehensive Animal Health and Welfare Bill to update existing welfare legislation to protect the welfare of animals.

Effective communication is important in promoting animal welfare. I am delighted to report the great use of our website www.fawac.ie. The growing use of the FAWAC website indicates the value placed on such a resource and we will continue to review its content and effectiveness over the coming year.

We are continually being faced with new challenges on how we deal with animal welfare. I am confident that Council will continue to rise to the challenge of promoting animal welfare in a practical way and will continue to explore and examine ways of enhancing the well being of farm animals.

FAWAC is cognisant of the importance of research in farm animal welfare and in this regard works closely with relevant public bodies, organisations, individuals and companies. These linkages are vital in delivering its programme. Effective communication with stakeholders is also essential in the delivery of animal welfare issues.  To this end I would like to thank all parties involved.

I would like to express my appreciation to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, for his commitment to enhance good animal welfare practices among the community.

I am very grateful to all our members of FAWAC and to those who serve on its sub-groups for their considerable support and co-operation.  Their advice and contributions greatly enhance the work of FAWAC.  
I would also like to thank the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for its ongoing support.

Ag súil go mbeidh dea-thoradh ar ár gcuid oibre amach anseo.

 

Professor Patrick Fottrell
Chairman
August 2011