Bristol Welfare Assurance Programme (BWAP)
Aim of BWAP
This system aims to increase the ability of certification schemes to deliver assurance to consumers on animal welfare by incorporating valid, repeatable and feasible animal-based assessment techniques into certification schemes.
WHAT does this mean?
The Bristol Welfare Assurance Programme (BWAP) aims to incorporate existing animal based welfare assessment techniques into conventional and organic farming certification systems. The assessment protocols include dairy and beef cattle, pigs and laying hens and are based on previous experience from the following projects :
WHY should we do it?
HOW is it done?
The assessment links the data from the assessment of medicine records, and animal based observations with an evaluation of the farms management of health and welfare issues (health plan) and an assessment of compliance with relevant certification or legal requirements:
What are the OUTCOMES?
The farmer will get a feedback report of all his results, which are compared with other similar farms and with intervention guidelines, previously set by veterinarians. Conditions exceeding the intervention guideline highlight farm specific priorities for action that could yield improved health, welfare or productivity. This would then justify further investigation by the farmer, their advisors and the assessor.
This system has not resulted in a change of the certification or legal welfare standards so exceeding the intervention guideline would never be used on its own as evidence for non-compliance.
European welfare initiative
This assessment system includes an animal-based welfare assessment system that has been developed from UK research. There is also considerable interest in this methodology in other countries. The University of Bristol is one of many partners working on a EU funded integrated project, welfare quality, that aims to deliver a European standard for welfare assessment systems. The assessment methodology included within this system is likely to be updated in accordance with the findings of this European initiative.