The FAO has launched a new internet portal to serve as a one-stop-shop for individuals and organisations searching for the latest information about the welfare of livestock.
The Gateway to Farm Animal Welfare is designed to provide a reliable information conduit on legislation and research findings in the sector, as well as on animal welfare standards, practices and policies. Expected users are farmers and government officials, lawmakers, researchers, the livestock and food industry and non-governmental organisations.
It will provide an important forum for animal welfare issues related to activities such as transport, slaughter and pre-slaughter management, animal husbandry and handling and the culling of animals for disease control.
Livestock production accounts for 40% of the value of world agricultural output and products of animal origin provide one-third of humanity's protein intake. Animals also contribute income, social status and security to roughly one billion people, including many of the world's poor.
Southern livestock production
Since the 1990s, the centre of gravity of livestock production has moved from north to south and a few developing countries have emerged as powerful new players on the global scene.
“Any development programme that improves animal health, increases livestock production and responds to natural disasters where animals are involved needs an animal welfare component in it,” said Samuel Jutzi, Director of FAO's Animal Health and Production Division.
“This portal meets a real information need in this extremely important area.”
Opportunity to contribute
By giving less economically developed country governments, professionals and producers online access to the latest information and the opportunity to contribute information relevant to their own situation, the portal will help to improve livestock welfare, health and productivity worldwide.
Compliance with animal welfare standards can open access to international markets for products from less economically developed countries. The portal will also offer on-line conferences and seminars.