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jun 09, 2017

Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture commits to animal welfare standards

In April 2017, Brazil introduced a permanent committee to measure animal welfare standards in its food production supply chains. The Permanent Technical Animal Welfare Committee (CTBEA) aims to monitor how agricultural animals are treated in Brazil, ensuring that their handling sits in line with domestic laws.

One of the world’s leading producers of animal products, Brazil has been upping its animal welfare game over the last few decades. The CTBEA’s establishment is the latest in a string of progressive measures designed to uphold its ethical standards of animal treatment.
The new committee’s aim is to provide technical recommendations and standards for good practice regarding animal welfare. Its focus is on the livestock chain, hoping to ensure treatment standards for animals in every step of the agricultural supply chain.

The CTBEA will work with global reference centers, such as the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), to build and uphold standards. Among its missions is the intention to request support and training for vets and agents who participate in the animal production supply chain.

It hopes to ensure that dialogues remain open for regional and national interests to be discussed, as well as global interests. The Committee will be made up of an executive secretary and representatives for agricultural defense, social mobility, rural production and cooperatives. Cabinet representatives will also report to the Brazil’s Minister for Agriculture.

The Committee’s creation is part of a process that first began nearly a century ago in Brazil. In 1924, the country introduced its first laws regarding livestock treatment by banning behavior towards recreational treatment of animals that caused them pain.
Since the beginning of the current millennium, Brazil has heightened its focus on protecting animals destined for agriculture. The country has put laws into place that minimize animal suffering in slaughterhouses, although these laws do not apply to birds. It also provides voluntary guidelines for the ethical rearing and transporting of livestock.

Moving forward, the CTBEA will be part of an important support network for Brazil. With billions of dollars of investment having gone into animal agriculture industry suppliers, the government actively encourages the industry’s growth. And as farming in the 21st century becomes more industrialised and production times become shorter, Brazil’s animal farmers have been shifting towards confinement models for livestock.
In 2010, Brazil had almost 1.5 million breeding sows in gestation crates at any given moment. Its largest pork producer, BRF, has committed to phase out use of gestation crates by 2026 – a process that the newly-formed CTBEA is likely to provide support for.