Bristol Welfare Assurance Programme (BWAP)

Aim of BWAP

This system aims to increase the ability of certification schemes to deliver assurance to consumers on animal welfare by incorporating valid, repeatable and feasible animal-based assessment techniques into certification schemes.

WHAT does this mean?

The Bristol Welfare Assurance Programme (BWAP) aims to incorporate existing animal based welfare assessment techniques into conventional and organic farming certification systems. The assessment protocols include dairy and beef cattle, pigs and laying hens and are based on previous experience from the following projects :

HOW is it done?

The assessment links the data from the assessment of medicine records, and animal based observations with an evaluation of the farms management of health and welfare issues (health plan) and an assessment of compliance with relevant certification or legal requirements:

  • Medicine records and Health plan for the last available year are reviewed. This may be done as part of the normal inspection process and an advance copy, if available, saves time on the farm.
  • Assessment of Animals : The assessment will extend the amount of time an inspector will look at your animals. This will involve seeing all the animals on the farm and a more detailed assessment of some animals. Cattle and pigs are assessed visually only and laying hens will normally be handled briefly. Animals can remain in their normal environment. Outdoor animals that are not too flighty can be assessed in the field.
  • Intervention guidelines devised by the specific schemes ensure that assessors carry out further investigations for issues of potential concern.
  • Management (health plans) : The preventive and corrective actions taken by the farmer are assessed in the context of the animal-based assessment i.e. What action is the farmer taking to either prevent future problems occurring or dealing with current problems?
  • Compliance with standards : BWAP encourages assessors to investigate the compliance with existing relevant standards.

Advancing Animal Welfare Assurance

AssureWel is a 5 year (2010-2015) collaborative project led by the RSPCA, Soil Association and University of Bristol, supported by the Tubney Charitable Trust. Its main aim is to develop a practical system of welfare outcome assessment for the major farm animal species, which can be used in farm assurance schemes.

Visit for further information.


Edit this page