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EU offers advice on animal welfare

ANIMAL WELFARE in Thailand, particularly for farm animals, can be improved by studying the high standards maintained by the European Union, although they need to be adapted to suit the local climate and conditions, according to the Livestock Development Department.

Tritsadee Chaosuancharoen, director-general of the department, said on Tuesday that Thailand's standards will be raised higher when the Senate approves the Animal Welfare Bill, which has already passed the lower House.

The tropical weather here requires different considerations for transporting livestock and poultry than those in the EU, where it is colder, he said during the first day of a four-day training workshop for experts and government officials from Asean.

EU standards include no animal testing for cosmetic purposes, not keeping laying hens in conventional cages and keeping sows in groups during pregnancy instead of making them live in barren individual cages where their behavioural needs are not respected.

The EU Lisbon Treaty recognises animals as sentient beings and guarantees that farm animals are kept and transported under conditions that do not subject them to maltreatment, abuse, pain or suffering.

Andrea Gavinelli, head of animal welfare for the European Commission Directorate General for Health and Consumers, said the EU has the most advanced legislative framework for animal welfare in the world.

Animal welfare is important for EU citizens and is a shared responsibility among the various actors of the food chain from farmers to retailers. The EU has a global interest in protecting animal welfare and the issue is an important priority.

"We're here to pass all the information [learned from] 40 years of [animal welfare] activities," he said.

Payungsak Somyanontanakul, vice president of Charoen Pokphand Foods Plc, said the company employs evaporative cooling to control temperature and humidity levels at its chicken coops to ensure freedom from discomfort for its poultry. Food and water are also always available to prevent thirst and hunger.






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