FAO ADDRESSING ANIMAL WELFARE IMPLICATIONS
How can FAO contribute to inform and support producers in developing countries to access the benefits of good animal welfare practices?
Animal welfare is an area of active scientific research, development and standard setting [by the World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE)]; it is also often an emotive issue and has important ethical, production, economic, social, cultural and trade implications for FAO’s member countries.
Although economically not a major global player, the livestock sector is socially and politically very significant. It accounts for 40 percent of agricultural gross domestic product in value terms. It employs 1.3 billion people and creates livelihoods for one billion of the world’s poor. Livestock products provide one-third of humanity’s protein intake, and despite being a contributing cause to obesity, because of often excessive consumption in the developed world, they are a remedy for under-nourishment in a large number of countries where the intake of livestock products is too low. Since the 1990s, the centre of gravity of livestock production has moved from North to South and a few developing countries have emerged as powerful new players on the global scene.
FAO is organizing an Expert Meeting on Capacity Building to Implement Good Animal Welfare Practices to review the current knowledge on animal welfare standards, practices and policies and to seek advice on the requirements for capacity building especially in developing countries. Impacts and benefits of animal welfare enforcement in developing countries will be analysed. Options for how FAO can contribute to informing and supporting producers in developing countries to access the benefits of good animal welfare practices will be explored. The Expert meeting will take place from 30 September to 3 October 2008, at FAO Headquarter in Rome, Italy. The meeting this will take place in closed sessions but the report of the meeting will be published.
Within FAO's broader goal of supporting livestock related livelihoods, sustainable livestock development and ensuring fair trade practices, the objectives of the expert meeting are to:
- review the current state of scientific knowledge related on animal welfare;
- update information on existing or proposed animal welfare standards and practices;
- analyze the implications of animal welfare policies and standards on international trade with a focus on developing countries;
- analyze the likely impact and implications of animal welfare policies on the development of livestock sectors in developing and emerging economies;
- identify the potential benefits of promoting good animal welfare practices in developing countries;
- identify the capacity and institutional constraints that developing countries need to overcome to ensure they benefit and are fairly treated by animal welfare policies; and
- advise FAO on its role and possible contribution to support its members to maximise the potential benefits and to mitigate against any negative consequences of applying animal welfare standards and practices.