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 formal reports

Our priorities

Our priorities are to:

  • review of production systems and the welfare of cattle
  • provide quality assurance for revised codes of practice for the welfare of farmed livestock
  • respond to governments’ requests for scientific support on the welfare of farmed animals at the time of killing
  • 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


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
  • Martin Barker, pig farmer
  • Dr Andy Butterworth, veterinary surgeon
  • Richard Cooper, veterinary surgeon
  • Dr Jane Downes, independent veterinary consultant
  • Dr Troy Gibson, Lecturer in Animal Welfare Science, Royal Veterinary College
  • Dr David Grumett, Senior Lecturer in Theology and Ethics, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Maria Carmen Hubbard, agricultural economist
  • Richard Jennison, veterinary surgeon
  • Richard Kempsey, poultry farmer
  • Dr Dorothy McKeegan, Senior Lecturer, University of Glasgow
  • Debbie Stanton, ruminant farmer and livestock assurance scheme manager
  • Mark White, veterinary surgeon

Meeting summaries

27 November 2018: summary (PDF, 82.4KB, 1 page)

26 April 2018: summary (PDF, 109KB, 1 page)

14 March 2017: summary (PDF, 146KB, 1 page)

15 October 2015: summary (PDF, 158KB, 1 page)

18 June 2015: summary (PDF, 158KB, 1 page)

26 February 2015: summary (PDF, 159KB, 1 page)



Telephone: 0208 02 63936 or 63577

FAWC Secretariat
Area 2D, Nobel House
17 Smith Square

Contact details