Guidance on Risk Assessment for Animal Welfare


Panel on Animal Health and Welfare
EFSA Journal
EFSA Journal 2012;10(1):2513 [30 pp.].
Panel Members
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

The AHAW Panel wishes to thank the members of the Working Group on the Guidance on risk assessment for animal welfare: Moez Sanaa (Chairman), Donald Broom, Linda Keeling, Endre Szucs, Pascal Oltenacu, John Webster, Simon More, David Morton, Bosse Algers, Mo Salman, Antonio Velarde, Michael Sharp, Joerg Hartung and Hans-Hermann Thulke, Philippe Vannier, and Martin Wierup and EFSA staff, Elisa Aiassa and Oriol Ribó, for the support provided to this scientific opinion.

Guidance of the Scientific Committee/Scientific Panel
On request from
Question Number
13 dicembre 2011
Published in the EFSA Journal
25 gennaio 2012
Last Updated
15 febbraio 2012. This version replaces the previous one/s.
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy

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.

Animal welfare risk assessment, problem formulation, exposure assessment, consequence characterisation, risk characterisation
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Food technology and food safety
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