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Welfare of domestic carnivores at events


Full title: Opinion of the FRCAW on the welfare of domestic carnivores (dogs and cats) at events in France
Requested by:
Office of Animal Welfare (BBEA) - French Directorate General for Food (DGAL) - French Ministry of Agriculture and Food
Date of request: 14/09/2020
Delivery date: 15/12/2021

Context

The FRCAW was requested by the DGAL on 14 September 2020 to specify a minimum rest period for domestic carnivores between two events of the show-sales type.

Having studied the existing literature and communicated with experts in the field, the FRCAW proposed that the request be extended to include the work required for a fully comprehensive review of the welfare of domestic carnivores at events (shows, competitions, exhibitions, sales) in France, outside the public health situation arising from COVID-19 pandemic.

Main conclusions of the FRCAW

The main welfare features on which breeder-exhibitors, veterinarians, oversight and monitoring bodies were in agreement are as follows:

  • Selection by breeders of animals to attend events is based on behaviour and health.
  • Physical conditions and management of events can cause stress and fatigue in animals.
  • A rest period is necessary between two events but its duration escapes strict quantification.
  • Lack of monitoring by vets due to insufficient time and resources can lead to:
    • greater risk of the spread of disease
    • assessment of animal welfare during transport being dependent on the knowledge and responsibility of individual participants,
    • assessment of animal welfare at the venue being based on the knowledge and responsibility of individual organisers.
  • There is a general desire to monitor animal welfare more closely and to raise awareness further at events.

The FRCAW therefore proposed the following future pathways to support respect for animal welfare during events:

  • Development of a training programme or dedicated modules (obligatory or optional) on animal welfare at events (shows, fairs, exhibitions, competitions, trials, sales) to allow those involved to adopt good practices in a systematic way,
  • Development of a welfare assessment tool for use by individuals at events,
  • Designation by the organisers of an animal welfare advisor for each event,
  • Creation of an online monitoring hub to compensate for limitations in monitoring and the reporting of information.