Article 17

Animal welfare officer ( see - AWT training structure )

(46) The experience gained in some Member States has shown that the appointment of a specifically qualified person as an animal welfare officer to coordinate and follow up the implementation of animal welfare operating procedures in slaughterhouses has provided positive welfare benefits.  This measure should therefore be applied throughout the Community.  The animal welfare officer should have sufficient authority and technical competence to provide relevant guidance to line personnel.

COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) No 1099/2009 of 24 September 2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing

AWT Animal / Poultry Welfare Officer Processing courses

The Welfare Officer appointed by the business operator is required to hold the same CoCs as slaughtermen and stockmen.  However, the question is whether the qualification level of NVQ2 is ‘fit for purpose’ with regard to stated WO duties and responsibilities.  It is difficult to see how one qualification standard can justifiably satisfy NVQ2 for slaughtermen and stockmen whilst at the same time providing sufficient detailed knowledge and understanding of complex welfare and quality issues within production to staff responsible for compliance with the full range of legislation, COPs, company SOPs and retail standards.

The answer is that EU Reg 1099 requires only a minimum standard of competence across the whole workforce of the EU.  In the UK this has been provided by the ‘slaughter licence’ since at least 1995 ( WASK Regs. ).

Historically EU regulators are not predisposed to require higher levels of WO training since the EU does not wish to legislate for a level of training / education that member states may not be able to provide.  Instead it allows independent training providers ( eg. AWT Ltd. ) to continue providing advanced holistic welfare training courses and programs as before ( AWT staff conceived, authored and delivered all AWO and PWO courses across UK, EU and internationally having established them in 1993 and 1994 respectively ).

Animal Welfare Officer and Poultry Welfare Officer training courses that have been running worldwide for 20 years are aimed at providing more advanced training in welfare and quality to fully support the role of the Welfare Officer.  Also, professionals within the food industry not wishing to obtain / require NVQ2 CoCs will still require access to advanced holistic training in welfare and quality from production on farm to the end of primary processing in order to provide professional services and support within the meat production industry worldwide.

Whilst AWT is reviewing the FDQ NVQ2 qualifications in anticipation of delivering and / or assessing vocational training in the future we believe that it is essential that the established and more advanced AWOP and PWOP courses, Senior Welfare Officer and Training trainer programs should be maintained alongside vocational courses to enable staff to develop and progress within meat production and associated professional industries.

1. Business operators shall designate an animal welfare officer for each slaughterhouse to assist them in ensuring compliance with the rules laid down in this Regulation.

2.  The animal welfare officer shall be under the direct authority of the business operator and shall report directly to him or her on matters relating to the welfare of the animals. He or she shall be in a position to require that the slaughterhouse personnel carry out any remedial actions necessary to ensure compliance with the rules laid down in this Regulation.

3.  The responsibilities of the animal welfare officer shall be set out in the standard operating procedures of the slaughterhouse and effectively brought to the attention of the personnel concerned.

4. The animal welfare officer shall hold a certificate of competence as referred to in Article 21, issued for all the operations taking place in the slaughterhouses for which he or she is responsible.

5. The animal welfare officer shall keep a record of the action taken to improve animal welfare in the slaughterhouse in which he/she carries out his/her tasks. This record shall be kept for at least one year and shall be made available to the competent authority upon request.

6. Paragraphs 1 to 5 shall not apply to slaughterhouses slaughtering less than 1,000 livestock units of mammals or 150,000 birds or rabbits per year.

The Welfare Officer