EQA Workshop "Certificate of Competence in Animal Welfare"
Sector-specific standards and norms in international feed and food trade already require that training needs be determined and proof of competence be provided. This has long been established practice for a range of activities in the agri-food sector. Also in the sector of livestock farming, legal provisions and EU regulations increasingly demand specific training and qualification measures for animal owners and veterinarians. Both occupational groups are already accustomed to having to provide training certificates for certain areas of expertise. Since 26 November, 2015, in the field of plant protection, users, consultants and retailers of plant protection agents, to mention a few, are obliged to provide a certificate of competence in cheque card format. In an EQA workshop held on 21 November, 2017, the EQA board and EQA-member EITCO along with representatives of the DRV e.V (German Raiffeisen Association) and the BLL e.V. (German Federation for Food Law and Food Science) have examined existing, legally required certificates of competence in the field of livestock farming and their legal framework. Since the use of anaesthesia for pain relief in piglet castration will be mandatory for all livestock holding facilities in Germany from 1 January, 2019, a team of experts is currently working on a model to design and organise a certificate of competence in the subject area “interventions on animals under anaesthesia”. Further steps include coordinating the execution and organisation in cooperation with training facilities such as the Andreas-Hermes-Akademie, Burg Warberg and the Geno Akademie, and establishing a financing plan. The EQAsce and its members have already made significant investments in this project. They expect that their investments will start to pay off in 2019, however, since they anticipate that European enterprises in the meat industry as well as governmental organisations, educational institutions and standard setters will draw on the EQAsce’s coordinating input for the international harmonisation of processes that lead towards certificate issuance.