Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC)

FAWC advises the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales on the welfare of farmed animals.

Our terms of reference

FAWC is an expert committee required to:

  • advise Defra and the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales:
    • on the welfare of farmed animals
    • on any legislative or other changes that might be considered to improve standards of animal welfare
  • provide independent scientific support and advice as required by Article 20 of Council Regulation (EC) No.1099/2009 (PDF, 906KB, 30 pages) on the protection of animals at the time of killing
  • publish its advice

Our priorities

Our priorities for 2015 to 2016 are to:

  • complete our assessment of the evidence base for farm animal welfare policy
  • finish a review of the welfare of beef cattle
  • investigate possible links between the wellbeing of farmers and the welfare of their livestock
  • respond to governments’ requests for scientific support on the welfare of farmed animals at the time of killing
  • consider the animal welfare implications of sustainable agriculture
  • work closely with the European Forum of Animal Welfare Councils (EuroFAWC)

Opinions and reports

Our main publications are reports, opinions and letters of advice to governments


Annual report

Our annual report for 2012 to 2013 has details about the committee’s working methods, published advice and ongoing work.


Our committees keep a watching brief on welfare issues within the broad subject bands:

  • ethics, economics, education and regulation
  • pigs, poultry and fish
  • ruminants
  • welfare at killing
  • evidence base for farm animal welfare
  • farm animal welfare implications of sustainable agriculture
  • animal breeding

Assessment of farm animal welfare - Five Freedoms and a Life Worth Living

We believe that good animal welfare implies both physical fitness and a sense of wellbeing. Our Report on Farm Animal Welfare in Great Britain: Past, Present and Future, 2009 explains how the Five Freedoms form a logical and comprehensive framework for analysis of animal welfare and goes on to outline our position that all farm animals should have a life worth living, from their point of view, and that an increasing proportion should have a good life.

Our members

Members of this group are:

  • Peter Jinman, Chair, past President, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
  • Professor Michael Appleby, Chief Scientific Adviser, World Animal Protection
  • Martin Barker, pig farmer
  • Professor Henry Buller, Chair, Rural Geography and Director of the BA Human Geography Programme, University of Exeter
  • Dr Andy Butterworth, Senior Lecturer, Bristol University Veterinary School
  • Dr Joanne Conington, Livestock Geneticist, Scotland’s Rural College
  • Richard Cooper, veterinary surgeon
  • Huw Davies, sheep farmer, Member of the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group
  • Mike Elliott, Fellow, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
  • Dr David Grumett, Chancellor’s Fellow in Christian Ethics and Practical Theology, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Maria Carmen Hubbard, agricultural economist
  • Richard Jennison, veterinary surgeon
  • Gwyn Jones, dairy farmer, former Vice President of NFU
  • Richard Kempsey, poultry farmer
  • Professor Richard Moody, fellow of the Institute for Food Science and Technology
  • Mark White, veterinary surgeon
  • Steve Wotton, Senior Lecturer, University of Bristol’s School of Veterinary Sciences


13 February 2014: summary (PDF, 237KB, 1 page)

4 October 2013: summary (PDF, 134KB, 1 page)

20 June 2013: summary (PDF, 211KB, 1 page)

13 March 2013: summary (PDF, 111KB, 1 page)



Telephone: 0207 238 6340 / 4926 / 5016

FAWC Secretariat
Area 4B, Nobel House
17 Smith Square

Contact details