About EURCAW-Pigs

The establishment of Animal Welfare Reference Centres is laid down in the Official Controls Regulation (Articles 95 & 96). In 2018 the Commission designated the first European Union Reference Centre for Animal Welfare: 'EURCAW-Pigs'.
Pen enrichment - © WUR
Source photo: © WUR


Table of contents
Supporting the enforcement of pig welfare legislation is one of the Commission's priorities. EURCAW-Pigs provides scientific and technical knowledge to Competent Authorities of EU member states, to animal welfare policy workers and to their support bodies (e.g. science, training and communication).

The three partners in the consortium are the Friedrich Loeffler Institut (FLI) in Germany (DE), Aarhus University (AU) in Denmark (DK), and Wageningen Livestock Research (WLR) in The Netherlands (NL). Each of them has extensive experience at national level in providing advice on animal welfare related topics to their respective ministries. They are also recognised as internationally leading institutes on pig welfare science. Each partner has a relatively small team of 3-4 key staff who work in the Centre, and a much larger group of animal welfare experts from their own and affiliated institutes which they can call upon for additional support. Wageningen Livestock Research is the overall coordinator, and is supported in The Netherlands by the Adaptation Physiology department of Wageningen University (WU) and the Veterinary Faculty of Utrecht University (UU). EURCAW-Pigs receives its funding from DG SANTE of the European Commission, as well as the national governments of the three partners forming the Centre.

Provision of knowledge

EURCAW-Pigs provides scientific and technical knowledge to Competent Authorities of EU member states and their support bodies, for the official controls on pig welfare requirements laid down in the European pig welfare legislation.

EURCAW-Pigs has 5 main areas of activity, described in detail in its Work Programme 2023-2024:

  • Coordinated assistance,
  • Animal welfare indicators,
  • Scientific and technical studies
  • Training courses, and
  • Disseminating research and innovations.

      Detailed understanding of pig welfare issues

      For detailed understanding of pig welfare issues on-farm, during transport and at slaughter, practical and scientific knowledge is provided:

      • EURCAW-Pigs offers easy access to knowledge for Competent Authorities and their support bodies via the email address info.pigs@eurcaw.eu. This service is provided from the launch of the EURCAW-Pigs website;
      • EURCAW-Pigs will compile review documents, thematic factsheets, and dossiers summarising the latest scientific and practical knowledge for several priority areas;
      • EURCAW-Pigs will facilitate access and dialogue with farms, transport companies and abattoirs willing to demonstrate good practices regarding welfare legislation, from January 2020 onwards;EURCAW-Pigs provides a knowledge base (library) with a search engine for finding scientific, legal and technical documents on pig welfare issues.

        Verification of compliance

        For verification of compliance with the European pig welfare legislation:

        • EURCAW-Pigs present lists of pig welfare indicators, predominantly including animal based indicators, but also management- and resource based indicators;
        • EURCAW-Pigs suggests iceberg indicators that can be used by official inspectors to obtain a quick overview on possible welfare problems on farm, during transport, and at abattoirs.

        Training and education

        For further professional training and education:

        • EURCAW-Pigs lists training activities and materials used in the Member States;
        • EURCAW-Pigs presents minimum (quality) standards for training activities on pig welfare in husbandry, transport and slaughter;
        • EURCAW-Pigs recommends communication methods for inspectors to handle ambivalence and make changes happen on farm, during transport, and at abattoirs. An overview of knowledge is available.

          Services EURCAW-Pigs, leaflet