Animal Welfare in Poland – Truth vs Myths Part I

Contrary to what we often hear in the media, Polish and European breeders are leaders in implementing animal welfare principles. They not only comply with the minimum standards imposed by EU and national regulations but go a step further by voluntarily improving the conditions of rearing and breeding. What is animal welfare? Before we proceed, let’s clarify what animal welfare is. By applying animal welfare principles in practice, breeders have an obligation to ensure the “five freedoms” for animals:
    • Freedom from hunger, thirst, and malnutrition by providing access to fresh water and food that will keep the animals healthy and strong.
    • Freedom from mental distress and pain by providing appropriate shelter and resting places.
    • Freedom from pain, injury, and diseases through prevention, rapid diagnosis, and treatment.
    • Freedom to express natural behaviour by providing adequate space, conditions, and the company of other animals of the same species.
    • Freedom from fear and distress by providing care and treatment that does not cause psychological suffering to the animals.
    • Poland – a leader in ensuring animal welfare

      Factors such as safety, health, and animal welfare are priorities of the EU’s agricultural policy, and these principles are strictly adhered to by Polish breeders. Poland, like other EU countries, is obliged to comply with the animal welfare standards set out in Council Directive 2008/120/EC on the minimum standards for the protection of pigs and Council Directive 2007/43/EC establishing minimum rules for the protection of chickens raised for meat production. The European Union is a global leader in ensuring the welfare of farm animals, and among the member countries, Poland practically raises the standards of regulations by allocating relatively significant funds from the Common Agricultural Policy to provide the best possible conditions for farm animals.

      Changes for the better

      Undoubtedly, like any field, animal breeding is constantly evolving and improving. In recent years, significant investments have been made to improve animal welfare. For example, the construction of modern breeding facilities that take into account the needs of animals and enable them to engage in natural behaviours. Furthermore, it has become common practice among breeders to seek advice from specialists in animal welfare and benefit from new technologies. Poland utilizes the most advanced technical, electronic, and IT solutions to provide the best conditions for animals. For instance, monitoring systems currently being introduced to Polish pastures enable not only continuous observation of animal behaviour but also the management of the area they inhabit. How does it work? Sensors attached to the animal’s ear, rumen, or under the skin in the form of chips gather information about activity, health, temperature, early signs of illness, and even animal stress. This allows breeders to quickly respond to any deviations from the norms.

      Spreading false information

      Unfortunately, despite significant progress in animal welfare and the efforts of breeders, there are individuals who deliberately spread untrue information to harm the reputation of Polish breeders. Especially now, in a time of high levels of misinformation in the public sphere, we strongly encourage verifying sources and relying on those that present information based on reliable data.

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