Animal Welfare

Animal Welfare Benchmark

Animal Welfare Benchmark for Standards

The Animal Welfare benchmark will be used to evaluate current industry standards for cattle production and determine whether they meet the requirements of LIA. 

With a baseline derived from the OIE Guidelines, the Animal Welfare benchmark offers 4 different options to address different cattle production systems.

Areas addressed in the benchmark include:

  • Nutrition
  • Living environment (on and off pasture)
  • Animal husbandry (handling, inspection, breeding, weaning, painful procedures, euthanasia, and on-farm slaughter)
  • Transport
  • Slaughter
“A benchmark is a reference point against which something is evaluated.” (iseal)

How will Animal Welfare standards be benchmarked?

The benchmarking process for Animal Welfare standards will follow the LIA Benchmark Approval Process (current draft).

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Continuous Improvement

Our hope is that LIA can support everyone to play a role in improving the welfare of cattle:

Brands and Retailers
When setting your Impact Incentive purchase strategy, take into consideration the animal welfare conditions in the region you are sourcing from, and determine what level of change you want to drive. If animal welfare levels are very low, the most powerful approach may be to incentivize farmers to meet the baseline, but also look at providing further incentives to move to higher levels. Working through Program Partners to help farmers with training and guidance is a good way to do this. In areas that are already meeting good animal welfare, you can still incentivize them to move to higher levels, or reward best practices where they are happening.

Program Partners
Program Partners play a key role in helping farmers to achieve a LIA benchmark and to move to a higher one. They can do so by organizing training to meet a chosen standard, providing implementation support, coordinating group verification, collecting data and registering for Impact Partnership Incentives.

Farms and Farm Groups
For farms, animal welfare is a fundamental part of their business model, and we recognize that farmers are doing their best with their current knowledge and resources. Becoming certified to an independent standard is an excellent way to be recognize for your efforts, and to identify areas for improvement. The LIA benchmark will help guide farms and farm groups to select a certification program that meets the best benchmark level they can achieve and can stimulate discussion between farmers and certification bodies when it comes to reviewing and amending standards.

Standards and Certification Programs
Standards and certification play a key role in recognizing and rewarding good animal welfare as well as motivating change – especially when a market or incentive exists for certified production. LIA benchmarks the different levels of animal welfare that standards and certification represent. Some standards have several options or tiers that will map to the different LIA options, allowing farmers and farmer groups certified by those standards to improve their rating with the Certification program and the LIA benchmark while remaining with the same certification body. Standards evolve over time, and LIA can play a role in mapping where minor amendments to existing standards would improve the benchmark outcome. LIA can also signpost expectations from brands and retailers that may influence standards and certification program amendments in future.

Legislation

Legislation varies from country to country. It is expected that all farmers and farmer groups will abide by relevant legislation, and where legislation overrides and/or exceeds requirements of the benchmark then that legislation becomes the minimum requirement.

Want to learn more?

We welcome you to contact us  with any questions you may have about LIA. If you would like to play a role in the development and review of LIA, we invite you to join the International Working Group. 

Pilot Programs

Piloting will soon begin for LIA benchmarking and Impact Incentives. For more information on participating in a pilot, please get in touch.

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