More than 900 million farm animals are reared every year in the UK for consumption and additionally huge quantities are transported from other countries. Unfortunately there is concern that the legislation in place is not always enough to ensure that they all have a good quality of life and are transported and slaughtered humanely.

It is a huge challenge to try to improve the welfare of such a large number of animals, especially as there is an increasing demand for meat and meat products which often result in intensive farming practices. As the demand continues to increase it is important to consider both sustainability and welfare standards together. This problem is not one for just the farmers but for the Governments, retailers and perhaps most significantly the consumer.

APGAW believes it is important to raise awareness of welfare issues, to offer information and to consider all areas affecting farm animal welfare which can include diet, environment, management, health, transport and slaughter to see what improvements could be made. We need to work with and seek to influence those who make important policy decisions on animal welfare by bringing together welfare organisations, food retailers, farmers and government members.

APGAW has a number of Associate Member organisations who work tirelessly to improve farm animal welfare including Compassion in World Farming and the RSPCA. We also include members of the National Farmers Union in our membership so that we can hear what farmers think needs to be done to ensure they can reach the highest level of welfare possible whilst remaining competitive against overseas producers. APGAW understands that it is important that the highers standards of animal welfare benefit everyone - the animals, farmers, retailers and the consumer.

You will see under the Minutes and Events that we have discussed various farm animal welfare issues in our meetings and it is our intention to continue working in this area in the new Parliament.