Guidance on risk assessment for animal welfare


Animal welfare risk assessment, problem formulation, exposure assessment, consequence characterisation, risk characterisation
First published in the EFSA Journal
25 January 2012
13 December 2011
Last Updated
15 February 2012. This version replaces the previous one/s.

The document provides methodological guidance to assess risks for animal welfare, considering the various husbandry systems, management procedures and the different animal welfare issues. The terminology for the risk assessment of animal welfare is described. Risk assessment should not be carried out unless the relevant welfare problem is clearly specified and formulated. The major components of the problem formulation are the description of the exposure scenario, the target population and the conceptual model linking the relevant factors of animal welfare concern. The formal risk assessment consists of exposure assessment, consequence characterisation, and risk characterisation. The systematic evaluation of the various aspects and components of the assessment procedure aims at ensuring its consistency. All assumptions used in problem formulation and risk assessment need to be clear. This also applies to uncertainty and variability in the various steps of the risk assessment. The choice between qualitative, semi-qualitative or quantitative approaches should be made based on the purpose or the type of questions to be answered, data, and resource availability for a specific risk assessment. Quantitative data should be used whenever possible. Positive effects on welfare (benefit) could be handled within the framework of risk assessment if the analysis considers factors as having both positive and negative effects on animal welfare. The last section details the main components of risk assessment documentation.

Panel members at the time of adoption
Anette Bøtner, Donald Broom, Marcus G. Doherr, Mariano Domingo, Jörg Hartung, Linda Keeling, Frank Koenen, Simon More, David Morton, Pascal Oltenacu, Fulvio Salati, Mo Salman, Moez Sanaa, James M. Sharp, Jan A. Stegeman, Endre Szücs, Hans-H. Thulke, Philippe Vannier, John Webster and Martin Wierup
Panel on Animal Health and Welfare
ahaw [at]
EFSA Journal 2012;10(1):2513 [30 pp.].
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