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Journal Articles Animal Year : 2021

Animal welfare official inspections: farmers and inspectors shared concerns

Abstract

Official inspections to check the compliance of farms with European legislation to protect farm animals are often perceived negatively by farmers. In addition, the inspections have a limited effect on improving farm compliance. We looked at the perceptions of both farmers and their inspectors about animal welfare and the inspections in a case study of dairy production in France. The identification of gaps and commonalities between both parties should help us to propose improvements in the inspection method by which inspections could more likely encourage compliance with animal welfare legislation. To achieve this aim, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 22 dairy farmers and their 19 inspectors. Both farmers and inspectors described animal welfare in terms of the state of the animal and of the living conditions and care provided to them. The majority of farmers found that the official checklist used by the inspectors is inappropriate to assess the welfare of their animals; inspectors themselves reported that they often use their own criteria and indicators (often based on the observation of animals) in addition to the official checklist. Both groups disagreed with some requirements of the legislation. These findings suggest that the content and background of the legislation to protect animals should be made clearer to both farmers and inspectors and that these two groups of actors should be involved in the definition of key points to be checked on farms, with special attention to animal-based indicators. All this could improve farmers' engagement with the results of the inspections and, hopefully, could lead to better compliance with legislation and improvements in animal welfare on farms.
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hal-03135519 , version 1 (09-02-2021)

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Isabelle Veissier, M. Miele, Luc Mounier. Animal welfare official inspections: farmers and inspectors shared concerns. Animal, 2021, 15 (1), pp.100038. ⟨10.1016/j.animal.2020.100038⟩. ⟨hal-03135519⟩
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