Voluntary animal welfare assessment of mass-produced farm animal housing equipment using a standardised procedure
Assessment of mass-produced animal-housing equipment can serve as a basis for improving animal welfare. A number of European countries have adopted various legal approaches to such assessment. In Germany, welfare assessment of housing equipment is voluntary, but minimum standards can
be set by regulation for the assessment procedure and for the qualifications of the persons involved. From a scientific perspective, the time and resource constraints pose some problems, particularly as they apply to a voluntary procedure. For reasons of practicability, certain compromises
will be required. Nevertheless, it is important to ensure that each assessment procedure is based upon scientific principles and considers animal welfare aspects to a sufficient extent. A proposal for the minimum standards of an assessment procedure has been elaborated by the Animal Welfare
Committee of the German Agricultural Society (Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft, DLG), a shortened version of which is presented here. The animal welfare impact of such a regulated but voluntary procedure will be less than that of an obligatory assessment; however, the relatively flexible
approach may still significantly contribute to the improvement of welfare aspects of livestock housing.