GCAW exists because we believe that there is an ethical imperative to improve farm animal welfare throughout the global food supply chain.
The scale of the industry is significant – excluding fish, some 87 billion animals are farmed for food each year – and commercial production systems are complex, varied and interconnected. This means that individual companies cannot address the many challenges surrounding farm animal welfare alone. They must work together to improve welfare outcomes at scale.
GCAW seeks to deliver this need for co-ordinated engagement and action, not simply to avoid negative welfare states, but also to promote positive welfare states for the billions of animals in the global food chain.
In defining animal welfare, GCAW is aligned with the World Organization for Animal Health definition, also widely adopted by food companies and primary producers, industry associations, international governmental organizations, local and regional governments, investors, animal welfare NGO’s and others. This is:
An animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well-nourished, safe, able to express innate behaviour, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress.
Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling and humane slaughter/killing.
Animal welfare refers to the state of the animal (that is, how it is coping with its environment); the treatment that an animal receives is covered by other terms such as animal care, animal husbandry, and humane treatment.
Article 7.1.1. Terrestrial Animal Health Code. World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)