12 December 2018. IRTA, AENOR and FIC collaborate in an initiative to promote a certification focused exclusively on animal welfare, developed as a consequence of the European Welfare Quality® project The project was conducted by a network of European technology centres with the active participation of experts from IRTA. Currently, this is the only certification in Spain in accordance with Welfare Quality®; the certification was created in 2014 by IRTA and AENOR and, since then, has been issued to over 1,300 facilities. The inclusion of FIC demonstrates the meat sector's support for this initiative.
This certification is recognised throughout Europe and encompasses pig, bovine and poultry species, with new modules that include rabbits and sheep. This mark can be issued to all types of facilities involved in meat production, right from the farm to the slaughterhouse. It also certifies the provenance and traceability of meat products until the end consumer.
The AENOR animal welfare certification complies with all types of evaluation and certification. As well as complying with current legislation, the certification also meets the strictest industry standards, as endorsed by experts, and facilitates the self-regulation of companies to guarantee animal welfare at all times. The certification evaluates several parameters, including animal handling, feeding, unloading, housing, and stunning.
Auditing is based primarily on direct observation and assessment of animals and their behaviour. The evaluated parameters are grouped into 4 basic principles: good feeding, good accommodation, good health, and appropriate behaviour for the needs of the species. These are grouped into 12 criteria that go from the lack of pain in handling, injuries and illnesses; to guaranteeing movements or the appropriate behaviour of the animals, among others.
Animal welfare is one of the fundamental pillars of sustainability since the application of good practices has a direct impact on the quality of products and helps to reduce production costs, making it possible to have more efficient and sustainable models. It is also a crucial factor in livestock production to ensure food safety and quality.
Finally, it has a direct correlation with food quality because the meat and dairy products sourced from animals with good welfare offer higher quality and better yields.