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Animal welfare in Belgium among the European top

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The meat industry in Belgium is one of the most regulated in the world, and Belgium also scores well in the area of animal welfare. International research shows only Scandinavia and Switzerland do it better, while the southern countries score worse than our country.

Welfare protected by law

There is a European animal protection regulation: it lays down a specific regulation (according to animal species, production system and production phase) in which the welfare of farmed animals is protected by law during transport and slaughter. Belgium takes it to the next level. All Belgian livestock farms must respect additional national legislation to ensure animal welfare and quality in the chain.

Training and supervision

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Anyone who handles live animals in abattoirs must be trained and must have a ‘Certificate in Meat Processing (Slaughtering). In order to obtain that certificate, they must follow training and pass an exam.

Any abattoir where more than 1,000 livestock units or more than 150,000 poultry are slaughtered per year, must appoint an animal welfare officer. He/she ensures that the animal welfare rules are complied within the abattoir, and reports directly to the operator, i.e. the manager of the establishment. That operator requires the staff to take corrective action when problems are signalled. He/she must also keep record of all measures taken by the abattoir to improve animal welfare.