National and EU Reference Centres discussed support to Member States on animal welfare issues

Published on
October 15, 2021

The three EU Reference Centres for Animal Welfare (EURCAWs) met for the first time with National Reference Centres (NRCs) and National Supporting Bodies (NSBs) designated by EU governments.

Aim of the meeting – organized online on July 1, 2021 - was to start developing a useful network and identification of possible collaboration/synergies. In total 61 participants from 21 Member States participated, including 42 delegates from the NRCs and NSBs, and 19 delegates from the three EURCAWs.


The participants were welcomed by Dr Virginie Michel, Director EURCAW- Poultry and other small farmed animals (EURCAW-Poultry-SFA). Dr Hans Spoolder, Director and coordinator of EURCAW-Pigs, presented the aim and activities of the EURCAWs. EURCAW Ruminants&Equines was designated recently, and the work has not started yet. Prof Harry Blokhuis, Director, introduced the management and expert teams of the Centre. Thereafter, the existing 5 National Reference centres presented themselves by describing their role and highlighting their activities.


In three workshops, specific aspects of support to Member States on animal welfare were discussed:

  • Scientific and Technical issues: For the first round delegates were grouped by species (pigs, poultry, cattle), based on expertise and/or preference. Topics that were discussed were, e.g., scientific and technical expertise in relation to national questions on welfare legislation issues and topics prioritised, indicators to assess animal welfare during official controls, inspiring examples of good practices, etc.
  • Training and Communication. Round 2 consisted of 2 workshops: Examples of issues that were discussed:

    • Training: organization of training of countries CA’s or Policy workers, required skills and knowledge, prioritised topics of training sessions.
    • Communication: good ways to communicate with CA’s or Policy workers (via digital means, direct interaction), existing language issues, EURCAWs' websites and available documents/information/ knowledge.

Following the workshops, the moderators of the workshops prepared a wrap-up of the outcomes of the workshops: how to strengthen the collaboration between NRCs, NSBs and the EURCAWs for the purpose of supporting the Member States? Moreover, a survey was sent to the participants after the meeting asking for more specific and in-depth information on certain issues.

The detailed outcomes of the workshops and the results of the survey can be found in the report of the meeting. Moreover, the presentations are available and combined here.

Introphoto: Farm animals combined (©Shutterstock)