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What is the Gateway to Farm Animal Welfare?

The Gateway is a virtual multi-stakeholder knowledge exchange platform. FAO hosts the platform on its website and manages the flow of information.

The Gateway provides a single access point for international and national information related to farm animal welfare. It is a participatory platform open to a large base of users that can both submit and access information.

Contributions are expected to be objective, pertinent, factual, notable and verifiable with cited sources. All submitted material has to be relevant to animal welfare.

The Gateway gives to less economically developed country governments, professionals and producers free online access to recent news and information on farm animal welfare and provides an opportunity to share  information relevant to resource poor environments. In this way, the Gateway contributes to the improvement of livestock welfare and thus animal and public health and livestock productivity worldwide.

The Gateway search engine provides rapid full text retrieval of documents in their original language.

Why animal welfare?

Animal welfare is a global common good which forms an integral part of a responsible development of the livestock sector.

The Gateway addresses  animal welfare not as a stand-alone topic, but as one topic among many others relevant or related to food safety and security, human and animal health, sustainability, rural development. Animal welfare is a tool that can generate benefits to producers, their animals and citizens at large.

In recent years animal welfare has become an issue of increasing concern in a number of countries, including several developing ones. In many of them, retailers and the food industry are asking for higher animal welfare standards to producers of food of animal origin; at the same time, compliance with animal welfare standards and equivalence is more and more often included in trade agreements. Concurrently, a number of studies have quantified the economic returns of animal welfare and have shown that the application of animal welfare standards and practices can indeed contribute to increase food security and rural income.

The welfare of humans and the welfare of animals are closely linked. In many regions, a secure supply of food for people depends on the health and productivity of animals, and these in turn depend on the care and nutrition that animals receive. The massive increase in animal production of the last decades has raised a wide range of ethical issues, including concern for animal welfare, which has to be considered alongside with environmental sustainability and secure access to food.

What are the Gateway objectives?

The Gateway intends to:

  • build awareness and encourage sharing of information on the multi-faceted aspects of animal welfare; 
  • increase knowledge
  • facilitate access to the findings of animal welfare research and to relevant legislation and policies, codes of practice, events, scientific and technical publications, case studies, projects, training and funding opportunities, multimedia material, as well as animal welfare experts, organizations, educational and research centres;
  • strengthen synergies and foster partnerships among academia and producers, research centres, government institutions, intergovernmental organizations , animal welfare and other relevant non-governmental organizations, financial institutions, and the private sector at large to facilitate dialogue and the funding, execution and communication of initiatives related to animal welfare.

Who are the intended users?

The Gateway is intended for a wide range of users, from government officers to private professionals, from academia to producers, from intergovernmental to non-governmental organizations. The Gateway is addressing needs of individuals and institutions with an interest in farm animal welfare and related topics. This includes professionals in:

  • National government agencies and bodies such as:
    • Agriculture or health ministries/departments
    • Biosecurity agencies
    • Standard setting organizations
    • Export promotion agencies
  • National and international scientific and private sector institutions such as:
    • National research institutes and universities
    • Industry associations
    • Producers, processors, transporters, exporters, traders and retailers
  • National and international non governmental organizations
  • International and regional organizations and bodies such as:
    • FAO, OECD, OIE and WTO
    • Secretariats for international agreements and economic integration bodies

What are the potential benefits of using the Gateway?

Using the Gateway to retrieve and share information related to Farm Animal Welfare can assist
Competent authorities and others to achieve their mandates more effectively. With easy online access to international standards and national legislation, the effort and expense required to comply with them
and get access to increased trade opportunities can be reduced. The portal can also help countries and producers to improve the ability to implement animal welfare practices.
Sharing relevant and up-to-date national information through the Gateway enables countries and producers to inform about their effort to raise animal welfare standards in their production systems.

What types of information does the Gateway contain?

The Gateway contains information related to farm animal welfare. It includes more than 20 relevant data sets, and comprises thousands of records (expanding) in the following categories:

  1. News, including press releases;
  2. Events:  conferences, congresses, seminars, workshops, national, regional or international;
  3. Publications: books, reports, factsheets, case studies, booklets, proceedings, flyers, etc.;
  4. Legislation: National laws and regulations, including the European Community and the Council of Europe ones,  related to animal welfare and protection, cruelty against animals, standards of humane care and treatment of animals;
  5. Codes of Practices and Recommendations: Codes and Recommendations by different institutions, stakeholders organizations and policy makers.
  6. Newsletters: current and archived issues of newsletters; regular circular information regarding upcoming meetings, projects, specific news and applications of relevance to animal welfare;
  7. Standards, Policies and Strategies: OIE internationally recognized standards, policies that lay down the basic rules and requirements to guide decisions and actions, and key strategies set out to streamline and implement the policies and to facilitate a coordinated and effective action;
  8. Scientific and technical papers: articles in printer friendly PDF format or found on the Scientific Journals web sites;
  9. Miscellaneus: Opinions, statement, communications, etc.;
  10. Training resources: trainers' guides or manuals, simple notes or handouts, illustrated posters or booklets;
  11. Projects: any think of field or research project finally aiming at improving farm animal welfare;
  12. Training opportunities: training and educational opportunities (short and long term courses, seminars, workshops, etc.) on Farm Animal Welfare
  13. Funding opportunities: funding opportunities for research and field projects or any kind of activity finally aiming at improving farm animal welfare;
  14. Employment: opportunities at national, regional and international level, offered by international organizations, government institutions, non governmental organizations, etc.;
  15. Multimedia: Power Point Presentations, video and sound clips, etc.;
  16. Websites: any relevant website.

How up-to-date is information in the Gateway?

The content of the Gateway is continuously updated and new data sets are added as they become available.

How does it work?

For detailed information on how to search or submit documents and information, please refer to the Guidelines to users.

Who are the partners of the Gateway?

The Gateway is the result of a collaboration between FAO and partners operating in the livestock sector and/or in support of animal welfare: the European Commission, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), Compassion In World Farming, the Humane Society International, the International Egg Commission (IEC), the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), The Brooke, the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), the International Dairy Federation (IDF), the Latin American Poultry Association (ALA) and the World Veterinary Association (WVA).

How is the Gateway organized and managed?

Content management, operations, policies and further developments of the Gateway are the responsibility of the FAO Animal Welfare focal point taking into account the indications provided by the Gateway Editorial board, made of representatives of the Gateway partners, FAO staff whose work is closely involved with animal welfare and experts and professionals for different world regions (Europe, North and South America, Africa, Asia and Oceania). Even the most effective organizational structure is of little use without a team of strongly committed people, the Gateway team members that contribute with ideas, but also translates them into action.

How to become a partner organization of the Gateway?

Interested parties (producer or professional associations, interest groups, intergovernmental organizations, national competent authorities, non-governmental organizations, academia and research centres) can submit expression of interest in becoming a partner in the Gateway by writing at  [email protected]. All expressions of interest will be duly taken into account.

How to get more information or assistance related to the Gateway?

For additional information about the Gateway or assistance, please contact the FAO Animal Welfare focal point at [email protected]