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Associations between membership of farm assurance and organic certification schemes and compliance with animal welfare legislation
  1. A. L. KilBride, BSc, PhD1,
  2. S. A. Mason1,
  3. P. C. Honeyman, BVMS, MRCVS2,
  4. D. G. Pritchard, BSc, BVetMed, MPH, MRCVS3,
  5. S. Hepple, PhD, DipWEL, MRCVS3 and
  6. L. E. Green, BVSc, MSc, PhD, DECVPH, MRCVS1
  1. School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK
  2. Animal Health, Cotgreen Road, Tweedbank, Galashiels TD1 3SG, UK
  3. Animal Welfare Team, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Green, e-mail:{at}

Animal health (AH) defines the outcome of their inspections of livestock holdings as full compliance with the legislation and welfare code (A), compliance with the legislation but not the code (B), non-compliance with legislation but no pain, distress or suffering obvious in the animals (C) or evidence of unnecessary pain or unnecessary distress (D). The aim of the present study was to investigate whether membership of farm assurance or organic certification schemes was associated with compliance with animal welfare legislation as inspected by AH. Participating schemes provided details of their members, past and present, and these records were matched against inspection data from AH. Multivariable multilevel logistic binomial models were built to investigate the association between compliance with legislation and membership of a farm assurance/organic scheme. The percentage of inspections coded A, B, C or D was 37.1, 35.6, 20.2 and 7.1 per cent, respectively. Once adjusted for year, country, enterprise, herd size and reason for inspection, there was a pattern of significantly reduced risk of codes C and D compared with A and B, in certified enterprises compared with the enterprises that were not known to be certified in all species.

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  • Provenance not commissioned; externally peer reviewed

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