The Nortura way of working with animal welfare
Animal welfare is important for everyone who works with live animals. At Nortura we have many frameworks and procedures for how our animals are looked after. All those who work with animals must comply with a regulation that sets specific requirements as to how animals must be kept, this may be the design of barns or care and handling. It is the responsibility of the farmer to ensure that the animal welfare requirements on the farm are complied with. Through the animal welfare programmes and the Quality System in Agriculture (KSL), Nortura requires farmers to monitor and document animal welfare. In addition, Nortura has advisers and vets who offer advice and guidance on how the farmer can develop and improve the operation and animal welfare.
Quality system in agriculture
The Quality System in Agriculture (KSL) is a standard and tool for internal control based on public regulatory requirements. KSL is recognised by Mattilsynet (Norwegian Food Safety Authority) as a national industry standard. Farmers are required to carry out annual self-audits and in addition production may be subject to physical audits.
Through self-auditing, the farmer must verify and document that the operation is in line with regulatory requirements, including animal welfare requirements. In addition to self-auditing, an external audit may be carried out where an auditor undertakes a physical inspection of the documentation, including visits to livestock facilities.
Animal welfare programme
An animal welfare programme has been established for all poultry, pig production and is being phased in for cattle. The programme is intended to provide a framework for systematic work on documenting and improving animal welfare in herds of livestock. The programme requires regular veterinary visits and that deviations are followed up. For Nortura, these programmes are important tools for farmers to work with in developing animal welfare in their own production.
Failure to follow the KSL and animal welfare programme will be met with financial penalties and/or exclusion from commodity flows such as Nyt Norge, Gilde and Prior.
How we follow up deviations
Nortura has also established its own procedures for identifying herds at risk of poor animal welfare. The procedures are based on the use of data and information from the value chain, such as observations from the slaughterhouse or registrations on the carcass. If deviations or lack of follow-up of animal welfare are detected through these procedures, they will be followed up.
Nortura's work is aimed at detecting animal welfare problems before they develop. The procedures are therefore to help the farmer to prevent challenges with animal welfare and to correct any deficiencies in animal welfare. Either by providing advice on improving animal welfare, or by helping to resolve any problems before they become too great. If measures are not followed up by the farmer, financial sanctions, exclusion from commodity flows such as Nyt Norge, Gilde og Prior, and notification to Mattilsynet will be implemented.
Competence is the key to being able to follow up on animal welfare
All employees handling live animals at Nortura's slaughterhouses must have completed a mandatory training programme and have received a certificate of competence from Mattilsynet. At the slaughterhouses, there are also designated personnel responsible for animal welfare. The animal welfare officer has a special responsibility to ensure that the requirements and rules for animal welfare at the slaughterhouse are observed.
The drivers of the animal transport vehicles are also required to have a certificate of competence. Because Nortura is concerned that everyone who handles animals on behalf of Nortura is well updated, we have taken the initiative in 2021 to make it a common industry requirement that drivers complete a mandatory refresher course every three years.
To give the farmer advice and additional knowledge about animal welfare, Nortura employs advisers and vets. Voluntary advice is available to all Nortura producers. The advice is free and, in addition to advice on animal welfare, may also consist of advice on production and animal health.
Nortura's advisers and vets also contribute to industry-wide training courses, in addition to providing trade meetings and other organised training activities for farmers who supply Nortura. Examples of this are Nortura's Fjørfeskole (Poultry School) and digital training for pig producers in connection with Mattilsynet’s inspection campaign on pig welfare.