"Do not give up on the goals you set"
Inspections, farms, animal welfare
Inspector: Sylwia (30) from Poland
"I am now a senior inspector for animal health and protection. My primary responsibilities are the supervision and control of animal diseases, the organisation of the work of official veterinarians during the monitoring of infectious animal diseases and the supervision of animal welfare on farms and during transportation. My work also involves farm inspections.
Sometimes I visit farms with the highest levels of care and management. The animals on such farms have excellent conditions. The farmers use modern technologies that are not widely used in Poland, which is great to see. Unfortunately, there are also situations where only a bad impression is left after the inspection. Owners are sometimes angry with inspectors if they do not like their conclusions and advice.
My worst situation was on a farm with dead and starving animals. The live animals needed immediate veterinary intervention. My colleague and I fed some of the animals while we were waiting for a car to transport the animals to another farm.The owners were alcoholics and could not cope with caring for the animals. It was a situation where the drama of the animals was combined with the drama of the people. The animals were taken away from their owners, and the case went to court. This is obviously a very exceptional situation.
In general, I think animal welfare on farms in Poland is better now than it was five or ten years ago. Young farmers who take over their parents' farms want to modernise the farm management. They look for innovation and have a good education and knowledge of animal husbandry. Farmers are more open to change than before and do more to follow the rules. Sometimes subsidies are an extra motivation to increase welfare.
It's complicated that national rules sometimes differ from European rules. For example, the EU has different rules for controlling African swine fever than Poland. However, we follow European rules. In some cases, it can be difficult to figure out what to do, but we have learned that for every problem, there is a solution. We use the advice of a lawyer whenever we have such a problem.
My tip for other inspectors is to consult colleagues and solve problems together. We shouldn’t give up on the goals we set for ourselves too soon but keep pursuing them consistently. We have to be patient and at the same time know what we are aiming for."
Sylwia is a veterinary inspector in the Animal Health and Protection Team in the central part of Wielkopolska, Poland. The Veterinary Inspectorate falls under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and is responsible for inspections of farms and transportation.