Supplementary decisions and interpretations
Following the conclusive formal adoption of these criteria, the supplementary decisions and interpretations below have been drafted in conjunction with the Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals. These decisions/interpretations have not yet been formally adopted and, in the event of exceptional circumstances, are subject to change before being included in the established BLL criteria. In anticipation thereof, certification will be carried out on the basis of these supplementary decisions and interpretations.
Amended Cattle criteria
Cattle that are transported over a distance exceeding 850 kilometers from the birth address to the fattening address, must stay at a temporary reception beef farm for a minimum of 21 days according to the criteria of the Better Life Label. After this stay, the cattle may continue to be transported. In most cases, this requirement relates to animals originating from France. However, it has become apparent that French legislation and requirements for animal registration do not ensure sufficient transport from the from the birth farm to the reception beef farm. In practice, this means that there is insufficient visibility as to where the animals stay for the duration of 3 days. This lack of visibility may be accompanied by undesirable impacts on animal welfare (animals being transported for a long time, staying at a livestock market, kept in the back of a stall somewhere, etc.). In addition, a reception beef farm is not BLL-certified and thus, in effect, practical operations on such a farm are unmonitored.
Based on further research, additional criteria have been drawn up to prevent undesirable animal movements of young cattle and also allow certification of a reception beef farm.
Because of the heavy impact on animal welfare, the changes were applied without public consultation and through the ‘expedited procedure’ based on the ruling of the director of the Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals.
The changes for the BLL criteria Cattle 1, 2 and 3 stars concern:
- Inclusion of seven additional criteria in relation to reception beef farms;
- If it is impossible to reach the fattening location within 850 kilometers, the cattle must be temporarily placed on a BLL-certified reception beef farm for a minimum of 21 days. The maximum length of stay is 4 months.
- Each herd on the reception beef farm is inspected at least once by the contracted veterinary practitioner to perform a clinical examination and provide advice.
- A copy of the cattle passport of the cattle present must be kept at the reception beef farm.
- There is a contractual relationship between the reception beef farm and a cooperative.
- Together with the cooperative, the reception beef farm must be able to demonstrate that the animals originate from cooperative members, whose farm is located within 140 km of the reception beef farm.
- The distance travelled by cattle from the birth address to the reception beef farm must comply with a maximum distance of 140 kilometers.
- The time between deregistering at the birth address and registering with the reception beef farm must comply with a maximum time of 48 hours.
- A beef farm (UBN) certified as reception beef farm must not operate as a fattening site, if not certified as a fattening farm.
- Incorporating supplementary decisions and interpretations into the criteria. All applicable requirements and clarifications for the BLL criteria for cattle can, again, be found in one document.
Declaration veterinary practitioner
Under the Better Life label for cattle, castration and disbudding is only permitted on the directions of the veterinarian and only when the animal is sedated and an analgesic is administered after the procedure.
An example of a declaration, which can be completed by the farm’s own vet, is shown below.
GMP+ equivalent animal feed systems
The Better Life label criteria for livestock farms include the provision that feed must demonstrably originate from a GMP+ certified feed supplier or a supplier with an equivalent quality assurance system. The Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals accepts various quality assurance systems as an alternative to GMP+ certified animal feed.
The ‘Equivalent systems’ page lists quality assurance systems accepted by the Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals as an alternative to GMP+ certification within the Better Life label scheme.
Example Emergency Plan
The criteria for BLL cattle stipulate an Emergency Plan. An example of an emergency plan, which you can use, is shown below.
English version one-to-one agreement veterinarian
The criteria for BLk Cattle call for a one-to-one agreement between the cattle farmer and a specialized certified bonded cattle veterinarian. Foreign participants who cannot use a veterinarian from the Guaranteed Cattle Veterinarian Scheme should enter into the agreement below with a permanent specialized cattle veterinarian.