Many countries do not address animal welfare in their national laws governing aquaculture. A first step towards consolidating fish welfare criteria on the level of EU legislation was taken at the European Parliament’s first ever fish welfare event on 6 June 2018. GLOBALG.A.P. was one of the international private standards invited to this event.

Among private standards, GLOBALG.A.P. stands out as the only international certification that currently addresses animal welfare in aquaculture. An independent report to the European Commission on the welfare of farmed fish calls GLOBALG.A.P. Aquaculture “a standard that covers the entire production chain from brood stock, seedlings and feed suppliers to farming, harvesting and processing” and highlights that it is “the only international private standard outside the UK that covers animal welfare practices at harvest and slaughter,” stating that the standard is “close to the fish welfare standards set by the OIE.” The OIE Aquatic Animal Health Code sets high standards for the improvement of aquatic animal health and welfare of farmed fish worldwide, and for safe international trade in aquatic animals (amphibians, crustaceans, fish, molluscs) and their products.

Fish welfare has become an important element in our salmon production, and we have implemented this in all our sites via our GLOBALG.A.P. certification,” says Randi Nordstoga Haldorsen, Group Technical Manager Food Safety, MARINE HARVEST ASA, and Vice Chair of the GLOBALG.A.P. Technical Committee Aquaculture. “ We see the holistic approach, as it supports food safety and our environmental goals.”

Animal Welfare in GLOBALG.A.P. Livestock Standards

Improved animal welfare according to GLOBALG.A.P. Livestock Standards helps enforce the policy of antimicrobial reduction in livestock production and contributes to the prevention and reduction of antimicrobial resistance.

Animal welfare has a higher priority in GLOBALG.A.P. Livestock Standards and is an important part of GLOBALG.A.P.’s sustainability concept. The criteria for assessing best practices and animal welfare in livestock husbandry are agreed upon in a multi-stakeholder process and are reviewed regularly.

The GLOBALG.A.P. Livestock Standards integrate animal welfare requirements based on legislation and on market demands. Additional animal welfare criteria that go beyond the legal requirements are integrated in the voluntary GLOBALG.A.P. Add-on Standards. Examples of this approach include the Sustainable Meat Initiative for the Dutch retail market, which focuses on pork production, and the GLOBALG.A.P. Add-ons for animal welfare of broiler birds and finishing pigs.

Animal welfare is not only important in and of itself. It is also an important factor for the health of livestock, which in turn contributes to food safety.

 

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