European Animal Welfare
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What ENAC is and why we should trust it as if it were the national selector.

In European animal welfare, ENAC plays a fundamental role as it regulates the operation of accreditation systems in Europe. This is essential in order to have accredited certifications, the tool that ensures the correct operation of each of the welfare certified facilities.

You can also get more information at the following link:

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It sounds like a play on words but it is not: Certifier and Accreditor are not the same thing.

Don’t get confused, certifier and accreditor are not the same concept. If you want to guarantee the animal welfare of farm animals, we explain the importance of differentiating between these two concepts.

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What Accreditation bodies are for and why whitout them. This would be the jungle.

Accreditation bodies play a fundamental role when it comes to animal welfare. Among other requirements, they guarantee independence and rigor to the certification bodies. In this way, we can know if a product complies or not with a reliability. Always be informed, look for accredited certifications in animal welfare

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Certification vs Accredited Certification

PROVACUNO, INTEROVIC and JTT are clear that a certification is not the same as an accredited certification. It is essential to learn to differentiate between the two concepts if we want to contribute to the welfare of our ruminants on farms.  Always choose products with accredited certification

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The Carnivore’s Ethics by Fernando Savater

Animals and whether or not they have rights continues to be a point of debate in society. Fernando Fernández-Savater Martín is a Spanish philosopher, philosophy professor and writer. He stands out in the field of essays and journalistic articles and is a winner of the planet prize and the national essay prize. 

During the first European Animal Welfare Symposium organized by the interprofessionals Interovic, Provacuno and JTT, the philosopher spoke of the importance of not «humanizing» animals and stressed the fact that they have neither rights nor duties «since they are not in the world of moral obligations».

«Animals have no rights because they have no duties, that is, they are not in the world of moral obligations, but that does not mean that they can be treated in any way. Animals need care, and somehow humans take care of them in their own way because an animal is not a stone or a tree. Animals demand a form of care and a form of generosity on our part. » – concluded the writer.

In this way and before more than two hundred attendees, the philosopher emphasized treating different beings according to their own reality: «We cannot treat an animal as if it were a stone just as we cannot treat a Velázquez painting as if it were a rag hanging on the wall. Distinguishing and discerning is what ethics is all about» and he went on to affirm that animals are living beings, «but they are not human, so to apply our same guidelines to them would be to alter their essence».

According to Fernando Savater, humans know pain, just like the rest of the animals, but also suffering, something that becomes one of our exclusives:

«There are people who, out of sentimentality or religion, do not want to eat certain foods and this is totally free. What is not free is to impose this as the only social life and on traditional ways of life and, furthermore, to do so in the name of ethics, as if morality demanded this type of behavior. I have been a professor of ethics and morals for 40 years and I can tell you that it is not true. Morality does not demand such things.» Savater reaffirmed during the event.

Today, European society continues to evolve towards new models of consumption based on concern for the welfare of animals in production chains. During this first Europe-wide symposium, scientists, technicians and different stakeholders from throughout the production chain were able to debate, offer different opinions and learn about the latest scientific and technical advances in animal welfare in production animals.

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The importance of promoting animal welfare

The beef and sheep interprofessionals in both Spain and Hungary (Interovic, Provacuno and JTT) were warmly congratulated by the entire livestock-meat sector thanks to the organization, last November, of the first Animal Welfare Symposium at European level. The recognition came about thanks to the work of the three interprofessionals in uniting different representatives of the production chain and putting animal welfare, a problem of growing concern to citizens all over Europe, in the spotlight.

Thanks to the work of these organizations, technicians and scientists from the sector converged in the same space with the aim of putting animal welfare in the focus of public opinion. In the words of Javier López, director of Provacuno: «Without animal welfare there is no efficient production. Without animal welfare the industries cannot have an adequate product for the consumer, so we have to make a communication exercise in this type of events to transfer to society what is the role of this type of Symposium within what is livestock production».

Great referents of the sector such as the UECBV veterinarian Carolina Cucurella or the philosopher Fernando Savater had the opportunity to debate and contribute new ideas and concepts to the current state of animal welfare. In Cucurella’s opinion: «the moment animals have a good level of welfare, they are animals that will reach the consumer’s table providing a security based on the fact that this product has been obtained with good practices along the whole chain».


In this line, the importance of communicating at all times to society the improvement work and the effort made by the sector itself in this sense was stressed, and it was exemplified with initiatives such as this first annual Animal Welfare Symposium, as Luis Gosálvez, founding member of SEPROBA and director of the Scientific Committee of the Symposium, said: «The stockbreeding sectors have very good professionals and they also love their animals very much. One does not become a breeder because he wants to harm the animals. With that, he mortgages his house, he gets personally involved… but he has to say it and do it. The policy of silence is useless in such a particular debate, where there is so much tendency to feelings».

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), there are several strategies aimed at ensuring the implementation of good animal welfare practices: voluntary codes, generally developed by the industry; business plans; product differentiation that allow consumers to make purchasing choices; development of internationalization programs; and application of international standards and agreements signed by intergovernmental organizations or conventions.

Regardless of the strategy implemented, a prior analysis must always be made based on local conditions to determine which programs are most effective in promoting good animal welfare practices and how the implementation of these programs benefits animals, people and the environment.

Raúl Muñiz, president of the Interprofessional Interovic recognized a constant evolution in the commitments of the sector with the welfare of ruminants and insisted that, as an interprofessional, they have the challenge of knowing how to transmit to a society, increasingly distant from the rural enclave, which are the advances and difficulties faced by livestock productions: «we are calm because we know how to produce. We know that we produce within the highest standards of quality and welfare, but this must be transmitted to the consumer, giving him the guarantee that we are really doing it». – Muñiz emphasized.

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Things that look the same but are not: Certification VS accredited certification.

Certification is a standard procedure by which a body gives written assurance that a product, process or service conforms to specified requirements. In this way, certification seals have become an indispensable tool for consumers who want to have guarantees and reliability about the promises a product makes to them.

But some things may seem to be the same thing, but they are not the same thing at all. Thus, an accredited certification is, yes or yes, evaluated in an audit by ENAC, so it has an additional guarantee that gives it the official accreditation. However, in certifications that have NOT been accredited, the reliability is unknown.

Just as a country can only have one president, so it is the same with accreditation bodies: it can only have one.

A National Accreditation Body is an entity recognised by international legislation as responsible for assessing and recognising the conformity of assessing bodies: certification bodies, testing laboratories, calibration laboratories, inspection entities, etc. Each country has designated its own. In the case of Spain, the National Accreditation Body is ENAC.

The National Accreditation Bodies are the entities in charge of evaluating, by means of the corresponding audits, the bodies that assess conformity (laboratories, inspection, certification and verification or validation bodies, among others) and, in this way, guarantee that they are technically competent.

This is why not all certifications are equal and do not offer the same guarantees and reliability. Only those certifications that have been accredited by a National Accreditation Body, such as ENAC, have the additional guarantee offered by accreditation.

In this way, accredited certification becomes a maximum guarantee of reliability for the consumer thanks to the fact that the entity that endorses the certification is accountable for its work to ENAC. Thus, during the accredited certification process, both the commitments that the product acquires through certification and the certification process itself are evaluated and verified, as well as the entity that carries out the certification process.

Animal welfare of ruminants, an unavoidable commitment.

The Spanish beef interprofessionals, Provacuno, and the Spanish and Hungarian sheep and goat interprofessionals, Interovic and JTT, consider the animal welfare of ruminants to be «an unavoidable commitment», which is why they encourage farmers to opt for accredited animal welfare certificates based on scientific criteria that are traceable and reproducible over time.

Unavoidable commitment

Only in this way will consumers be able to have full guarantees and reliability that the products they consume have truly been produced with the utmost respect and care for animals.

In this sense, Javier López, director of Provacuno, considers that «accredited certificates are the only ones that are reliable for the consumer because behind them is a National Accreditation Body (ENAC) that acts as a guarantor of reliability, transparency and independence during the certification process».

For his part, Tomás Rodríguez, coordinator of Interovic, explains that «another of the key aspects for generating consumer confidence is that certification is based on scientific criteria that are traceable, measurable and reproducible over time, the only way for the consumer to have full confidence that animal welfare is demonstrable».

What are national accreditation bodies for and why would it be a jungle without them?

  • They have an international character and are coordinated through the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).
  • They make it possible to homogenise evaluation criteria internationally, applying requirements established in ISO standards.
  • They guarantee the independence and rigour of the assessment bodies (certification bodies, testing laboratories, calibration laboratories, inspection bodies, etc.).
  • Each country has its own. In the case of Spain, the National Accreditation Body is ENAC.

When accredited certification also becomes a tool for improving profitability and productivity.

Accredited certification involves the implementation of a process on the farm that requires the recording of data and indicators. This daily monitoring provides farmers with a control and traceability system that allows them to analyse the information in order to guarantee animal welfare and continuous improvement.

In this way, the accredited certification process is not only a guarantor of animal welfare, but also a valuable tool for improving the profitability of farms.

For Sandor Kukovic, coordinator of the Hungarian sheep and goat interprofessional JTT, «a farm is a business that has to generate profitability and that depends first and foremost on the health and welfare of the animals. A healthy and well-functioning animal produces more and better than an unhealthy one. But beyond that, the recording of monitoring data that accredited certification obliges you to do allows the farmer to implement on-site technological and operational improvements that not only have a direct and positive impact on animal welfare, but also lead to improved profitability and lower costs».

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The importance of the European Green Pact to maintain Animal Welfare

Sustainability is now part of our future. In 2019, the European Union adopted the Green Deal or European Green Pact with the aim of making Europe the first continent to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, in the words of Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, «the time of man on the moon for Europe». In the words of Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, «Europe’s time for man on the moon».

This commitment to a sustainable economic system is the only lifeline Europe is clinging to after the crisis brought on by the arrival of COVID-19.

Among the sustainable measures adopted is the «farm to fork» strategy, which focuses on improving current food systems towards more sustainable production to meet the needs of the population by 2050.

Farm to fork or science to fork?

The Farm to Fork strategy is designed from the point of view of both the consumer and the producer, and its importance lies in the fact that it puts these two elements at the centre of the approach. The main objective of this comprehensive strategy is to take up the challenge of producing and consuming food in a way that is fair and sustainable for the planet.

In an environmentally friendly production system such as this sustainable pact, respect for animals is a must. Among the concepts advocated are a broad review of animal welfare and protection legislation and the need to recognise the living conditions and fundamental rights of animals.

However, it is important to remember that the real mechanism that makes all these processes verified and contrasted is science. An animal controlled and monitored under quantifiable and demonstrable scientific parameters is a healthy and calm animal. In this way, if animal welfare is taken into account morally and ethically, there is a social responsibility and, in turn, optimum levels of food safety are achieved, as it has been demonstrated that protecting them in this sense can be an important factor in reducing the spread of diseases.

Animal welfare at the heart of sustainability

Sustainable economic development puts the international community in the spotlight when it comes to improving welfare, quality of life and expanding global freedom. Animal welfare has become part of this race for the survival of the planet. Sustainability and a truly efficient economic model depend on care and respect for our animals.

At the 18th World Meat Congress in 2010, the theme of global cooperation on livestock welfare was presented by Daniela Battaglia, Livestock Production Officer in the Animal Production and Health Division of FAO. During the meeting, Battaglia pointed out that animal welfare is directly related to such fundamental rights as the right to adequate food and nutrition, livelihoods, decent working conditions, and social justice in general; and to such common global goods as biodiversity and natural resources.

Today, the report «Animal Welfare at the Heart of Sustainability» by FAO and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection underlines the need for animal welfare to be a priority for sustainability, and recognises that animal production and animal welfare are inextricably linked to ethical, political, economic, environmental and social issues.

The Spanish beef interprofessionals, Provacuno, and the Spanish and Hungarian sheep and goat interprofessionals, Interovic and JTT, have believed this and that is why they wanted to develop quality standards that could be reliable and truly guarantee animal welfare as well as continuous improvement in this area. For these three interprofessionals, the question is not to «meet requirements or parameters» but to be able to advance every day, to improve measuring tools, to adapt facilities and to be able to have greater reliability that what is being done is correct and adequate with complete certainty.

All this has materialised through its «European Animal Welfare Commitment» and an ambitious promotion plan financed with European funds that will soon complete its first year of implementation for the promotion and dissemination of animal welfare in ruminants for meat production.

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Accredited certification, a key tool to avoid heat stress

Sudden changes in temperature are a serious hazard for both animals and humans, with significant health effects ranging from dehydration, cramps, syncope, arrhythmias and many other conditions that can even lead to death. After what has been the fourth hottest summer since 1950, and with heatwaves looking set to become more frequent, systems that can control temperature and prevent sudden changes are essential if animal welfare is to be guaranteed.

In this way, the accredited certifications in animal welfare promoted by the Spanish interprofessional organisations Interovic and Provacuno and the Hungarian JTT become a key management tool that can, among other aspects, combat heat stress in animals as they are based on scientific parameters and have registration systems that allow monitoring and, if necessary, introduce appropriate improvements in conditions.

Combating heat stress based on scientific rigour and continuous monitoring

Continuous improvement does not allow for one-off corrections, but requires a record of continuous measurements based on scientific criteria such as, for example, the measurement of humidity conditions, ventilation, CO2 levels, etc. These records of measurable, reproducible and scientifically based parameters are what allow farmers and technicians to improve the facilities and living conditions of farm animals.

«In the case of beef cattle, sheep and goats in Spain and Hungary, a farm with accredited animal welfare certification is obliged to keep a continuous and daily record of more than 80 parameters based on scientific criteria, including those that control the effect of temperature changes on the state of health and welfare of the animals», Tomás Rodríguez, director of Interovic.

For this reason, every day more and more farmers and farm technicians see the great advantages that the accredited certifications in animal welfare, promoted by the interprofessional organisations Provacuno, Interovic and JTT, can bring them. On the one hand, in terms of credibility and reliability for the consumer, as an ENAC-accredited body is the one that guarantees these records, and on the other hand, in terms of the continuous improvements in productivity and even profitability that the monitoring, control and traceability systems that accredited certifications provide them with.

«The monitoring of scientifically based parameters generates great peace of mind for the farmer who has the confidence that his animals are always in optimum condition and that he has a system that warns him in real time of any incident that may affect them,» adds Javier López, director of Provacuno.

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How to tell if an animal is completely healthy: the importance of the relationship between farmers and vets

Animals constantly manifest behaviours, postures or ways of relating to each other that tell us a lot about their physical and psychological state. Analysing and measuring these factors, as we mentioned in previous posts, is crucial in order to establish the highest standards of reliability in animal welfare on farms.

Thanks to the exhaustive analysis of the animal welfare parameters carried out by professional experts in the field, it will be possible:

  • Provide first aid to animals in need of it
  • Prevent them from suffering from diseases
  • Stop possible diseases in time

On farms committed to European animal welfare, the relationship between veterinarians and farmers is crucial. When the animals are resting peacefully in the enclosure or are exercising behaviours typical of their species, every piece of information is analysed and processed, always taking into account the strict European scientific parameters in terms of regulation.

In this sense, for example, the beef cattle interprofessional (Provacuno) and the Spanish and Hungarian sheep and goat interprofessional (Interovic and JTT) have developed quality references that contemplate and analyse more than 80 parameters, all of them criteria backed by science.

There are multiple indicators that show whether an animal is in an optimal state of welfare in terms of health. Just as an example we can list the following:

  1. Appearance: A healthy animal is alert and aware of its surroundings. It is active with its head held high and supported by all its limbs. When an animal separates from the group, the reason for its behaviour should be analysed and the case should be managed in the best way possible.
  2. Movement: Movement also says a lot about the animals. Simple factors such as how long they lie down and how often they eat during the day should be observed.
  3. Eyes: Bright eyes, with no tears in the corners, are a clear indicator of animal welfare.
  4. Ears: Ears are among the most restless joints in ruminants, along with the tail. If they move all the time, it means that the animal is attentive to all the stimuli around it, which is a positive sign of welfare. 
  5. Muzzle: In cows, good health is related to a moist, not dry, muzzle. In sheep and goats the opposite is true, the nose should be cold and dry.
  6. Mouth: The ruminant should not drip saliva. If the chewing is slow, there may be problems with the teeth.
  7. Breathing: During rest, you can tell if an animal is in good health by noticing its smooth and regular breathing. Sometimes movement and warm weather increase the rate of breathing, which is why it is so important to be able to analyse each factor.
  8. Ruminate: Sheep, goats and cattle ruminate for six to eight hours a day. Rumination is a good indicator of animal welfare in terms of behaviour.

It is important to understand that assessment and detection through some of these indicators must be rigorous and traceable and must be monitored and recorded. This is the only way to avoid making false diagnoses and exposing ruminants to subjective testimonies. Furthermore, measurement and control must be accompanied by an appropriate action plan in each case that is able to ensure adequate conditions in each case.

In this way, the study of behaviours, attitudes and physical factors will allow a control of those elements that may be negatively influencing the animal welfare of ruminants; their recording will allow their analysis and evaluation and the action plan will guarantee the taking of appropriate measures to eliminate risks and guarantee animal welfare.

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