Focusing on Animal Welfare: An Interview with Jacek Zarzecki

Interview with Jacek Zarzecki, President of the Polish Association of Cattle Breeders and Meat Producers

What are the biggest challenges that Polish breeders face regarding animal welfare?

As a breeder, I see several challenges. Firstly, some breeders need to adapt their farms to new standards, which requires investment. The second challenge is adapting to increasingly stringent legal regulations. Additionally, we are facing growing societal pressure to improve animal living conditions, which demands continuous development and the enhancement of our qualifications as breeders.

Does implementing higher animal welfare standards affect the quality of the produced meat?

Definitely. Animal welfare has a direct impact on the quality of meat. Animals that are well-treated and live in suitable conditions yield higher-quality meat. This meat has better taste characteristics, texture, and nutritional value.

What benefits do breeders gain from ensuring a higher standard of animal welfare?

First and foremost, there are economic benefits. Improving animal welfare translates into improved production efficiency. Better animal living conditions lead to higher productivity and better product quality. Furthermore, breeders who prioritize animal welfare enjoy a better reputation among consumers, which can result in improved sales.

Does improving animal welfare matter for environmental conservation?

Yes, improving animal welfare is closely tied to environmental conservation. Well-treated and healthy animals are less prone to diseases, which means lower consumption of antibiotics and other medications that can pollute the environment. Additionally, sustainable breeding contributes to better management of natural resources.

What are the key changes that need to occur in Polish agriculture to improve animal welfare?

First and foremost, we need to increase awareness of the importance of animal welfare among breeders. Knowledge in this regard is crucial for implementing appropriate changes. Additionally, we need more financial and technical support for breeders, enabling them to introduce innovations and improve animal living conditions. It is also necessary to increase transparency in the meat breeding sector. Customers should have easy access to information about the conditions in which the animals they are purchasing meat from are raised.

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