Author: Aniwell Travel


BEAG Certification® Label

  • Justine Frederic
  • 12 May 2022

First label for animal welfare in animal facilities

A significant step forward for animal welfare

The notion of animal welfare is becoming more democratic with the appearance of numerous labels in different sectors such as food, agriculture or textiles.

Today, I would like to share with you a major advance in this field.  It is the creation of the very first animal welfare label for establishments welcoming wild or domestic animals: zoos, refuges, animal parks, care centers for wild animals, aquariums, etc… in France: BEAG Certification® (Guaranteed Animal Welfare)

We owe this long term work to the two co-founders of this label Laurence Colas, president and Karine Courtaux, general manager. They are accompanied by Florence Ollivet-Courtois and Cédric Libert, veterinary doctors, and Laurence Paoli, specialist in development strategies in the field of human/animal relations.

The notion of animal welfare

The notion of animal welfare is based on the criteria of the 5 fundamental freedoms resulting from the work of the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) in 1965 and later adopted by the World Organization for Animal Health. These criteria stipulate that the animal : 

  • Must not suffer from hunger, thirst and malnutrition,
  • Must not suffer from physical and thermal stress,
  • Must be free of pain, injury or disease,
  • Must be protected from fear and distress,
  • Must be able to express the normal behaviors of its species, which implies sufficient space, a suitable habitat and a social life.

BEAG Certification® is based on these world-renowned criteria to evaluate the structures in addition to zootechnical, environmental, scientific, ethological and cognitive criteria.

The BEAG Certification® label: a guarantee of reliability

The objectives of this label are multiple. On the one hand, it responds to the current issues of animal welfare and prevention of the risks of mistreatment by affirming the commitment of institutions. On the other hand, it responds to the negative preconceptions and questions of the public who are interested in the practices within the establishments themselves. By displaying the logo on their communication materials, professionals inform visitors of their good conduct, a sign of trust and reliability.

The steps of the labeling process

In order for an establishment to receive the label, it must apply for it. When the application is accepted, an on-site visit is made and an audit is carried out based on strict specifications respecting animal welfare. Everything is reviewed, the facilities of the structures, the quality of the environment, the access to care for the animals and the infrastructures allowing the animals to move and express their natural behavior, etc… 

If the establishment meets all the requirements, it is awarded the BEAG Certification® label. Verifications are carried out to allow or not the renewal of the label.  

A bright future

To date, two establishments have been awarded the label: the Parc Alpha de Vésubie, not far from Nice, and the Asson zoo in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques. They are paving the way for other structures to follow in their footsteps. We hope, why not, to see its development at the international level to guarantee the well-being to many other animals and to incite a maximum of people to take it into account, so much it became essential and indispensable.

To be continued… 🐾

If you are an establishment or know one that wish to obtain the label, don’t hesitate to contact Laurence Colas. The contact details are below.

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Elephant Haven European Elephant Sanctuary

Elephant Haven European Elephant Sanctuary (EHEES)

  • Justine Frederic
  • 11 March 2022

Welcome to the very first European sanctuary for retired elephants.

What if the future includes more and more sanctuaries?

After working with wild animals in zoos, Sofie Goetghebeur and Tony Verhulst decided to create the Elephant Haven European Elephant Sanctuary (EHEES) in order to offer a peaceful retreat to elephants. An innovative idea in Europe, they wanted to bring this concept, which can be found in Brazil, the United States, Africa and Asia, closer to home. 

Animal welfare, a subject of debate today, is at the heart of government decisions. So much so that many European countries, including France, have banned the use of wild animals in circuses. This haven of peace welcomes old elephants from zoos or circuses, unable to return to the wild.

A long-term project

This project was not the easiest to create. First of all, they had to choose the most suitable place to set up the infrastructure and welcome the elephants in the best conditions. Sofie and Tony (her partner and co-founder) chose the Limousin (France), a vast region that remains green all year round with plenty of water and hay. This refuge was made possible thanks to the many volunteers and professionals and the support of major associations, including the Brigitte Bardot Foundation and World Animal Protection. But also companies and organizations from all over the world.

A long awaited arrival

A few months ago EHEES welcomed its very first pachyderm named Gandhi. This 53 years old female came straight from the zoo of Pont-Scorff to spend some beautiful days in Haute-Vienne. Several months of adaptation are necessary for the elephant to get used to his new environment and his caretakers. Since her arrival, the whole team is delighted to see Gandhi’s progress. Today, she is gradually regaining her natural behavior and is moving freely in her living space.

In addition to taking care of Gandhi, the team makes a point of respecting nature by recreating a wild ecosystem in which birds, butterflies and other small animals are mixed. For Sofi and Tony, it is a pleasure to see the robins or the butterflies fly, it is a true reconnection to nature. Moreover, by leaving the plants as they are, they participate in the preservation of this ecosystem. Without nature, mankind will be lost. 

Outlook for the future

Although it is not “yet” open to the public, you have the opportunity to volunteer to help with the installation of new structures and the daily maintenance of the site. Eventually, the owners hope to create educational and awareness programs for the general public to learn about the pachyderms. The priority remains the reception of new residents so that they can socialize, find their natural instinct within a herd and quietly enjoy their retirement.

You can at any time support the association which depends on material and financial donations or foster Gandhi and thus support the needs of the sanctuary and the elephant. The whole team is waiting for you with open arms and trunk in the air.

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8 impasse du Serpolet, 
83136 Rocbaron, France

+33 6 37 31 85 54

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