The establishment of Animal Welfare Reference Centres is laid down in the Official Controls Regulation (Articles 95 & 96), and 2018 the Commission designated a first European Union Reference Centre for Animal Welfare: 'EURCAW-Pigs'.
Supporting the enforcement of pig welfare legislation is one of the Commission's priorities. EURCAW-Pigs provides scientific and technical knowledge to Competent Authorities of EU member states, to animal welfare policy workers and to their support bodies (e.g. science, training and communication).
The three partners in the consortium are the Friedrich Loeffler Institut (FLI) in Germany (DE), Aarhus University (AU) in Denmark (DK), and Wageningen Livestock Research (WLR) in The Netherlands (NL). Each of them has extensive experience at national level in providing advice on animal welfare related topics to their respective ministries. They are also recognised as internationally leading institutes on pig welfare science. Each partner has a relatively small team of 3-4 key staff who work in the Centre, and a much larger group of animal welfare experts from their own and affiliated institutes which they can call upon for additional support. Wageningen Livestock Research is the overall coordinator, and is supported in The Netherlands by the Adaptation Physiology department of Wageningen University (WU) and the Veterinary Faculty of Utrecht University (UU).