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The use of animal-based measures to assess animal welfare in EU - state of the art of 10 years of activities and analysis of gaps

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EFSA aims to develop a quantitative risk assessment methodology to assess the welfare of the animals by applying animal-based measures (ABMs).

In the last ten years, quite a number of resources were committed in the EU for improving the scientific knowledge on the use of ABMs, and these measures were identified as possible tools to be used as “diagnostic tests” for animal welfare (AW); however they are not consistently used and standardised.

The aim of this project was to establish what has been achieved and what is still missing on the use of ABMs. A review and analysis of the research findings and quality assurance programs (QASs) in the EU on the use of ABMs during the past ten years were carried out in order to define the state of play, assess how the concept and the use of ABMs have penetrated the AW community and identify the gaps that may have affected the use of ABMs in risk assessment. Additionally, it was of interest to assess how the scientific outcomes have been included into the legislative framework.

An ad-hoc working-group was set up to support the activities of the project, which were mainly outsourced. The level of penetration of ABMs was calculated for EU-funded projects, peer-reviewed papers, EU-legislation and QASs, whereas gaps were identified in the case of the projects, papers and QASs. A first statistical analysis was carried out, followed by experts’ discussion and guided brainstorming analyses.

This report summarises the results of the gap mapping analysis and the outcomes of the experts’ discussion. It also reports on the main actions that have been identified in order to fill the gaps, enhance and spread the use of ABMs among stakeholders and interested parties, and develop quantitative risk assessment methodologies in AW using ABMs.

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