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EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Network

Development of Animal Welfare Indicator

The new CAP will continue to support the transition towards more sustainable agriculture with increased ambition for animal welfare, in line with the Green Deal objectives and the Farm to Fork strategy.

This requires an animal welfare impact indicator to determine the overall effect of the CAP on the issue, but nothing is foreseen in the performance monitoring and evaluation framework (PMEF). Only the share of livestock units covered by supported actions to improve animal welfare is available as a result indicator (R. 44). Therefore, it is important to analyse which indicators could be used to assess the impact of CAP interventions on animal welfare.

In view of this, the European Evaluation Helpdesk for the CAP has launched its first Thematic Working Group (TWG) of the 2023-2027 programming period on the “Development of Animal Welfare Indicator” with the overall objective to provide support to the European Commission in the assessment of animal welfare supported by the CAP. The TWG aims to do this by identifying a suitable animal-based indicator, or set of indicators, to reflect the impact of the CAP on animal welfare in the EU and by building on the work carried out in the study on CAP measures and instruments promoting animal welfare and reduction of antimicrobials use.

The TWG includes the following objectives:

  • Select or define the most suitable indicator(s) to reflect the welfare of animals supported by the CAP;
    • Define the method to select the most suitable indicator(s) (e.g. a specific scoring)
    • Select and confirm the relevance of indicators proposed in the European Commission’s evaluation study on animal welfare regarding their capacity to reflect the welfare of animals.
  • Assess the feasibility of effective data collection for the calculation of the indicator(s);
    • Provide a state of play of available data at Member State level to document indicator(s)
    • Review (if necessary) the indicator(s) proposed in light of available data.

The workflow of the TWG follows traditional steps of evaluation with involvement of various stakeholders through a series of meetings: 

  • Working Package 1: Launching of the TWG where several aspects that frame the concept of animal welfare indicators were discussed, including a presentation of the initial list of indicators identified in the European Commission’s evaluation study on animal welfare;
  • Working Package 2: Development of a methodology to rank the initial list of indicators and identify a suitable indicator or set of indicators to reflect the impact of the CAP on the development of animal welfare in the EU, comprising the following steps:
    • Identification of major animal welfare issues, based on a literature review
    • Analysis of how CAP instruments and measures are used to address animal welfare issues, based on the data collected in the European Commission’s evaluation study on animal welfare
    • Analysis of the state of play of animal welfare indicators in Member States, based on an EU-wide survey conducted as part of the TWG
    • Ranking of the initial list of indicators based on the information collected in the previous steps 
    • Drafting of a working document summarizing the work of the TWG
    • Preparation of a Sounding Board consultation to receive feedback from MS on the draft working document
  • Working Package 3: Quality control and finalisation of content sourced from Work Package 2 and development of a working document on  the indicator(s) that could potentially be used for the assessment of the impact of the CAP on animal welfare.