Successful hybrid WG3 meeting in Lisbon, Portugal

Successful hybrid WG3 meeting in Lisbon, Portugal

The second in-person meeting in WG3 was held on April 22nd and 23rd 2024 in the University of Lisbon, Portugal (a big shout-out to George Stilwell, the local organizer). Twenty participants from 11 countries attended this meeting (Croatia, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and United Kingdom). As WG3 needs to work closely with the stakeholders, three representatives were invited to join the meeting with us, which are from RSPCA (certification scheme), CONCERTA International Consulting (external auditing and certification scheme), and a local vet practitioner in pig farms (private company).

On Day 1, WG leader Pol Llonch first reminded us again the aims of LIFT and WG3 and gave us an update. The meeting was followed by stakeholders’ views on positive animal welfare (PAW). During the discussion, we realized that it is not always clear for stakeholders (or even LIFT members) to differentiate ‘animal welfare’ and ‘positive animal welfare’. It therefore reveals a strong need to disseminate the concepts and components of PAW to stakeholders (and among LIFT). One aspect that was agreed by all the three stakeholder representatives was the ‘welfare of human (i.e., animal handler)’. It is essential to consider whether introducing/addressing PAW concept to stakeholders can improve farmers’/producers’ lives in general, which gives LIFT members a window of opportunity when explaining PAW to stakeholders. Most of the participants during the meeting thought that the opportunities for animals to express natural behaviours (those which eventually leads to positive experiences) is one of the main components of PAW.

On Day 2, we started the day by exploring the links between LIFT and a recent EU project called EU Partnership Animal Health and Welfare (EUP AH&W, https://eupahw.eu/), as there is one specific-objective-action dedicated to PAW and another specific-objective-action dedicated to stakeholder consultation. We addressed the need of organizing at least one meeting or one scientific workshop to discuss the collaborations with these two specific-objective-actions to yield the most scientific outcomes and to allocate the resources most efficiently in the research of PAW.

Lastly, across these two days, we had some timeslots to split-out or merge all the five subgroups to discuss more concrete plans within WG3, including the definition of stakeholders, identification of stakeholders, the criteria of selection of feasibility for PAW indicators, survey preparation/distribution/analysis, and finally, the construction of catalogue, identification of the end-users of this catalogue, and dissemination activities. It is important to keep in mind that the work tasks within WG3 require substantial input from stakeholders (meeting, survey, interview, workshop, etc.). Therefore, subgroup leaders need to keep track on the timelines of each work task and ensure members have related skills corresponded to their tasks.

The two-day-meeting has been fruitful and effective, thanks to the participation of the stakeholders, and WG3 subgroup leaders and members (offline and online). It was great to meet many people in person, knowing that we will work closely together soon in WG3. The minutes will be uploaded to the Member’s Area on the website, and we will distribute the work plan to all the WG3 members soon. A short video of the meeting is available on our YouTube channel here.

Written by Heng-Lun Ko

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