Category Archives: Animal Welfare

The European Union recognises animals as sentient beings that deserve protection. Community legislation sets minimum requirements in order to spare animals from any unnecessary suffering in three main areas: farming, transport and slaughter. It also tackles other issues, such as animal experiments and the fur trade. The 2006-2010 action plan sets out the broad outlines for European intervention in this field, both within the EU and beyond its borders.

Protection of chickens kept for meat production

Protection of chickens kept for meat production

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Protection of chickens kept for meat production

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > Animal welfare

Protection of chickens kept for meat production

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 2007/43/EC of 28 June 2007 laying down minimum rules for the protection of chickens kept for meat production

Summary

This Directive lays down a number of minimum requirements for holdings that rear chickens for meat production. Those requirements are designed to protect the welfare of the chickens, particularly those kept on high-density farms, and to eliminate distortions of competition in the sector.

Scope

This Directive applies to holdings that rear chickens for meat production (broiler chickens). It does not apply to holdings with fewer than 500 chickens or to holdings with only breeding stocks of chickens.

Rules that apply to all holdings

The poultry houses in which the chickens are kept must allow all chickens adequate access to a litter tray, a drinking channel and food. The buildings must have adequate lighting and ventilation, and should be inspected at least twice a day. Any chickens that are seriously injured or in poor health must be treated or immediately culled. Most surgical procedures performed for purposes other than medical treatment are prohibited. However, beak trimming and castration may be permitted in certain cases. Furthermore, the producer must keep a detailed record of the chickens reared, the conditions in which they are kept, their state of health, the mortality rate and any medical treatments administered.

The competent authorities must implement measures for monitoring and follow?up at the abattoir. If the post-mortem inspection reveals possible indications of poor welfare conditions, the holding and the competent authorities must take the appropriate measures.

Rules that apply to high-density holdings

The stocking density should not exceed 33 kg/m2. However, a higher stocking density (up to a maximum of 42 kg/m2) may be authorised if the producer meets additional criteria.

In addition to the rules that apply to all holdings, owners of high-density holdings must supply the competent authorities with specific documentation containing technical details relating to the holding and its equipment. Furthermore, holdings must be equipped with ventilation, heating and cooling systems to maintain the appropriate temperature, humidity and CO2 and NH3 concentrations.

Staff training

Farmers must follow training courses on the following subjects:

  • the characteristics of holdings and stocking density;
  • animal physiology;
  • handling chickens and administering emergency care;
  • preventive biosecurity.

Committee procedure

The Commission is assisted by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health in implementing this Directive.

Background

Before the entry into force of this Directive, the welfare of chickens kept for meat production was not covered by any specific Community legislation, except the general requirements of Council Directive 98/58/EC concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes. The Directive was proposed following a report drawn up in 2001 by the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare , which concluded that the level of animal health and animal welfare was not satisfactory.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2007/43/EC

1.8.2007

30.6.2010

OJ L 182, 12.7.2007

Action plan on animal welfare 2006-2010

Action plan on animal welfare 2006-2010

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Action plan on animal welfare 2006-2010

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > Animal welfare

Action plan on animal welfare 2006-2010

For the period 2006-2010, the EU is planning general measures aimed at ensuring animal welfare and protection. The measures will focus on improving standards, developing research and indicators, informing professionals and consumers and taking action at international level.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 23 January 2006 on a Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of animals 2006-2010 [COM(2006) 13 – Official Journal C 49 of 28.02.2006].

Summary

The action plan describes the measures the Commission intends to implement between 2006 and 2010 with the aim of developing and guaranteeing animal welfare and protection within the European Union (EU) and in other parts of the world. Its objective is to clarify Community legislation and make provisions for proposals in areas where it is insufficient.

The Commission would like to achieve the following objectives:

  • define more clearly EU action on animal welfare;
  • continue to promote high standards in this field;
  • provide greater coordination of resource;
  • support research and promote alternatives to animal testing;
  • ensure the coherence and coordination of all EU policies on animal welfare;

The action plan defines five main fields of interlinked action with the aim of achieving the stated objectives:

  • upgrading minimum standards
  • promoting research and substitute methods for animal testing;
  • introducing welfare indicators ;
  • ensuring that professionals and the general public are better informed;
  • supporting international initiatives for animal protection.

In terms of minimum standards, the action plan would reinforce the existing Community regulation in line with latest scientific knowledge, practical experience and progress in international fora.It also suggests that the minimum standards should be extended to cover species and issues currently not adequately provided for under EU legislation. Emphasis will inter alia be put on the respect of animal welfare by means of other policies, especially the Common Agricultural Policy (conditions for assistance, possible help in rural development policy).

The action plan recommends encouraging research projects that fill in the gaps and provide a sound scientific framework upon which future developments of EU policy on animal protection and welfare can be based. In addition, it proposes the creation of a European centre or laboratory, whose mission would be to collect, coordinate and exchange information on research and activities. The plan also emphasises the application of the 3Rs Declaration (replacement, reduction and refinement) defined at European level with regard to animal testing.

The action plan is hoping to introduce standardised animal welfare indicators. These indicators would guarantee that the minimum standards or stricter standards have been respected. The action plan also suggests that a Community label be created in order to promote products elaborated under higher animal welfare standards.

The action plan underlines the importance of training professionals, especially in order to disseminate good practice, and of informing consumers to enable them to make more enlightened choices on their purchases.

Under the action plan, the EU will continue to promote animal welfare standards within international fora such as the International Office of Epizootics (IOE) and the European Council. The plan advocates promoting the recognition and importance of these standards within the World Trade Organisation. Closer cooperation is also envisaged between the EU and countries that apply high standards and with developing countries.

The measures foreseen in the action plan will be assessed regularly in order to evaluate the progress made and to program complementary action after 2010.

Context

The action plan responds to the principles laid down in the protocol on animal welfare and protection annexed to the Treaty establishing the European Community (EC Treaty). This protocol recognises that animals are sentient beings and that full regard should be paid to animal welfare concerns when formulating or implementing policies relating to agriculture, transport, research and the internal market.

The impact study accompanying the action plan takes stock of the anticipated benefits of the action plan, of the existing legislation and of the research undertaken.

Since 1974, European legislation has been developed with a view to protecting animals and ensuring their well-being on farm holdings, during transport and at the time of slaughter.

Related Acts

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Options for animal welfare labelling and the establishment of a European Network of Reference Centres for the protection and welfare of animals [COM(2009) 584 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The Commission wishes to improve information for European consumers on animal welfare matters. In order to do this, it is launching a debate on the labelling of consumer products. By enabling consumers to identify and choose animal welfare-friendly products, the Commission hopes to encourage producers to improve their practices in order to satisfy demand.
This Report should enable the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions to conduct this debate, specifically in the following areas:

  • consumer awareness of animal welfare;
  • animal welfare-friendly products;
  • the terms used on products;
  • third country producers’ access to voluntary certification systems, in compliance with the principles of the World Trade Organisation (WTO);
  • indicators and methods of measuring animal welfare;
  • coordinating centres of scientific research.

Animal welfare during transport

Animal welfare during transport

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Animal welfare during transport

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > Animal welfare

Animal welfare during transport

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 of 22 December 2004 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations and amending Directives 64/432/EEC and 93/119/EC and Regulation (EC) No 1255/97.

Summary

The text sets out to regulate transport of live vertebrate animals within the European Union (EU) where such transport is carried out as part of an economic activity. The aim is to prevent injury or undue suffering to animals and to ensure that they have appropriate conditions that meet their needs.

This regulation strengthens existing legislation on animal welfare during transport by identifying the parties involved and their respective responsibilities, putting in place enhanced measures on authorisations and inspections and laying down stricter rules on transport.

The parties involved and their responsibilities

The regulation extends responsibility for animal welfare to all parties involved in the process, including operations before and after transport. All parties must ensure that they comply with the legislation when performing those operations in which they are involved.

The regulation applies to transporters (already covered by the old legislation), organisers, drivers and “keepers” (staff at assembly centres, markets and slaughterhouses, and farmers).

All parties involved and their staff must undergo appropriate training. In particular, drivers and attendants must possess a certificate of competence issued after they have completed a comprehensive training course on animal welfare during transport and passed an exam organised by an independent body designated by the competent authorities.

Authorisations and inspections

For all journeys exceeding 65 km, transporters must hold an authorisation issued by a competent authority in the Member State in which they are established or represented. To obtain this authorisation, applicants must demonstrate that they have sufficient and appropriate staff, equipment and operational procedures.

For long journeys (exceeding eight hours), applicants must also provide:

  • specific documents: certificates of competence for drivers and attendants, certificates of approval for the means of transport to be used, details of the procedures for tracing and recording vehicle movements, and contingency plans; and
  • proof that they use a satellite navigation system, from 1 January 2007 for new vehicles and from 2009 for older vehicles.

These authorisations are valid for five years. They are issued in a standard European format and recorded in an electronic database accessible to the authorities of all the Member States.

Transporters carrying out long journeys between Member States must also possess a journey log drawn up by the transport organiser using a standard format and which contains information relating to the journey (identification of the animals and the persons in charge of them, place of departure and of destination, checks carried out at various stages of the journey, etc.).

Checks must be carried out by the competent authorities at key stages of the journey, including at exit points and border inspection posts. In addition, supplementary checks may be carried out at any stage of the journey on a random or targeted basis.

When carrying out checks, the competent authority must verify the validity of the authorisations, the certificates of approval and competence and the information recorded in the journey log. The official veterinarian must also check the state of the animals and their fitness to continue the journey. In the case of transport by sea, the state and conformity of the transport vessel must also be checked.

Technical rules on animal transports

The regulation introduces stricter rules on journeys exceeding eight hours. These rules apply to both vehicles and animals.

The regulation provides that transport vehicles must be fitted with equipment of the highest quality, including a temperature monitoring system (mechanical ventilation, temperature recording, warning system fitted in the driver’s cabin), permanent access to drinking water and better conditions on livestock vessels (ventilation, watering devices, approval system, etc.).

The transport of certain animals is prohibited. This applies to very young animals (calves of less than 10 days, pigs of less than three weeks and lambs of less than a week), except where the journey does not exceed 100 km. The regulation also prohibits transport of females in the last stages of gestation and during the first week after giving birth.

In addition, the transport conditions for horses on long journeys are improved, notably through the obligation to use individual stalls.

The provisions on journey times and space allowances for animals, which were contained in the old legislation, have not been amended. In terms of journey times, the regulation provides for different times depending on the type of animal: unweaned animals, i.e. animals still drinking milk (nine hours of travel, followed by one hour’s rest to enable the animals to drink, followed by a further nine hours of travel), pigs (24 hours of travel, provided there is continuous access to water), horses (24 hours of travel, with access to water every eight hours), cattle, sheep and goats (14 hours of travel, followed by one hour’s rest to enable the animals to drink, followed by a further 14 hours of travel). The above sequences may be repeated provided the animals are unloaded, fed, watered and rested for at least 24 hours at an approved control post.

Context

The revision of the maximum journey times and the space allowances for animals (two areas which are unchanged in the new legislation) must be the subject of a new proposal to be submitted four years after the entry into force of the regulation at the latest and which takes into account the application of the new rules by the Member States.

This regulation repeals and replaces Directive 91/628/EEC with effect from 5 January 2007.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1/2005

25.1.2005
Date of application: 5.1.2007
(except Article 6(5): 5.1.2008)

OJ L 3 of 5.1.2005

Related Acts

Council Decision 2004/544/EC of 21 June 2004 on the signing of the European Convention for the protection of animals during international transport (as amended) [Official Journal L 241 of 13.7.2004].
The European Convention for the protection of animals during international transports first came into force in 1971. In 1995, the contracting parties decided to bring its provisions up to date to take account of scientific developments and experience acquired in this field. The amended Convention lays down detailed rules applicable to all animal species and which reflect successive amendments to EU legislation. At present, the 15 old EU Member States are all parties to the Convention, as are Cyprus, Iceland, Norway, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Russia, Switzerland and Turkey.

Council Regulation (EC) No 1255/97 of 25 June 1997 concerning Community criteria for staging points and amending the route plan referred to in the Annex to Directive 91/628/EEC [Official Journal L 174 of 2.7.1997].
The European Union lays down common criteria applicable to control posts (or “staging points”) at which animals must be unloaded during long journeys. These rules aim to secure the health and welfare of the animals during such stops.

Community standards on staging points

Community standards on staging points

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Community standards on staging points

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > Animal welfare

Community standards on staging points

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 1255/97 of 25 June 1997 concerning Community criteria for staging points and amending the route plan referred to in the Annex to Directive 91/628/EEC [See amending acts].

Summary

Control posts (this term replaces the previous ‘staging points’) are places where animals are rested for 12 hours or more, under the rules on journey time restrictions laid down in Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 1/2005. They may only be used to receive, feed, water, rest, accommodate, care for and dispatch animals passing through.

Only animals of the same health status certified in accordance with Community legislation may be present at the same time at control posts.

Each control post must be approved and authorised by the competent authority. Such approval may be limited to particular categories or particular health statuses of animal. This information must be forwarded to the Commission, which draws up a list of control posts.

To be approved, control posts must meet the requirements of Annex I to 1/2005. In particular, the following must be ensured:

  • the premises must be constructed and operated so as to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Suitable and effective cleaning procedures and equipment must also be provided: the premises must be cleaned and disinfected after each use;
  • the premises must have suitable equipment and facilities for loading and unloading animals from the means of transport, in particular a non-slip floor covering and, where necessary, lateral protection;
  • personnel and equipment entering into contact with the animals accommodated must remain exclusively dedicated to the premises concerned unless they have been cleaned and disinfected;
  • animal litter, faeces and urine may not be collected from the premises until they have been appropriately treated to prevent the spread of disease;
  • appropriate sanitary breaks between two consecutive consignments of animals must be observed to allow proper cleaning and disinfection.

Control posts must also be located in areas not subject to prohibition of or restrictions on movement for health reasons.

Control posts are under the authority of an official veterinarian and must undergo regular inspection, at least twice a year, to ensure that the requirements for approval are met.

The use of a control post may be suspended in serious cases, particularly on animal health or welfare grounds. The Member State imposing the suspension must inform the Commission and the other Member States thereof, and it may only lift the suspension after notifying the Commission and the other Member States, stating the reasons.

Where Community legislation is not complied with, the Commission may suspend the use of a control post or withdraw it from the list following on-the-spot checks by experts.

Each passage through a control post must be entered by the official veterinarian in the journey log introduced by Regulation (EC) No 1/2005.

The Regulation may be amended by simplified procedure where the animal health situation so requires.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1255/97 2.7.1997 OJ L 174 of 2.7.1997
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1040/2003 9.7.2003 OJ L 151 of 19.6.2003
Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 25.1.2005 OJ L 3 of 5.1.2005

Animal welfare

Animal welfare

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Animal welfare

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > Animal welfare

Animal welfare

The European Union recognises animals as sentient beings that deserve protection. Community legislation sets minimum requirements in order to spare animals from any unnecessary suffering in three main areas: farming, transport and slaughter. It also tackles other issues, such as animal experiments and the fur trade. The 2006-2010 action plan sets out the broad outlines for European intervention in this field, both within the EU and beyond its borders.

GENERAL STRATEGY

  • Action plan on animal welfare 2006-2010

LIVESTOCK FARMING

  • European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes
  • Protection of farmed animals
  • Protection of chickens kept for meat production
  • Protection of laying hens
  • The protection of pigs
  • Protection of calves intended for slaughter
  • The keeping of wild animals in zoos

TRANSPORT

  • Animal welfare during transport
  • Community standards on staging points

SLAUGHTER

  • European Convention on the protection of animals at the time of slaughter
  • Protection of animals at the time of killing

OTHER

  • Protection of laboratory animals
  • Cosmetic products (from 2013)
  • Cosmetic products (until 2013)
  • Ban on trade in cat and dog fur
  • Trade in seal products

Protection of laying hens

Protection of laying hens

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Protection of laying hens

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > Animal welfare

Protection of laying hens

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 1999/74/EC of 19 July 1999 laying down minimum standards for the protection of laying hens [See amending act(s)].

Summary

This Directive establishes minimum standards for the protection of laying hens. It does not apply to establishments with fewer than 350 laying hens or establishments rearing breeding laying hens.

The rearing of laying hens must comply with the relevant provisions laid down by Directive 98/58/EC relating to the protection of farmed animals and with those laid down in the Annex to this Directive.

Alternative systems

From 1 January 2002, all newly built or rebuilt alternative systems of production and all such systems of production brought into use for the first time must comply with the following requirements:

  • all systems must be equipped with:
    1. either linear feeders (at least 10 cm per hen) or circular feeders (at least 4 cm per hen),
    2. either continuous drinking troughs (2.5 cm per hen) or circular drinking troughs (1 cm per hen),
    3. at least one nest for every seven hens,
    4. adequate perches (at least 15 cm per hen),
    5. and at least 250 cm2 of littered area per hen;
  • the floors of installations must support each of the forward-facing claws of each foot;
  • there are special provisions on systems of rearing allowing hens to move freely and/or permitting access to outside runs;
  • the stocking density must not exceed nine laying hens per m2 of usable area (however, where the usable area corresponds to the available ground surface, a stocking density of 12 hens per m2 is authorised until 31 December 2011 for those establishments applying this system on 3 August 1999).

Member States are to ensure that these requirements apply from 1 January 2007.

Rearing in unenriched cage systems

From 1 January 2003, all unenriched cages must comply with the following requirements:

  • at least 550 cm2 of cage area must be provided for each hen;
  • a feed trough (of a length of at least 10 cm multiplied by the number of hens), which may be used without restriction must be provided;
  • each cage must have an appropriate drinking system;
  • cages must be at least 40 cm high over 65 % of the cage area and not less than 35 cm at any point;
  • floors of cages must be constructed so as to support the claws of each foot. If the floor is on a slope, this must not exceed 14 % or 8 % except where the floor is made of a material other than wire mesh;
  • cages must be fitted with suitable claw-shortening devices.

With effect from 1 January 2003, no unenriched cages may be built or brought into service for the first time. This type of rearing system is prohibited with effect from 1 January 2012.

Rearing in enriched cages

From 1 January 2002, all enriched cages must comply at least with the following requirements:

  • each laying hen must have:
    1. at least 750 cm2 of cage,
    2. a nest,
    3. litter such that pecking and scratching are possible,
    4. appropriate perches of at least 15 cm;
  • a feed trough that may be used without restriction must be provided. Its length must be at least 12 cm multiplied by the number of hens in the cage;
  • each cage must have an appropriate drinking system;
  • there must be a minimum aisle width of 90 cm between tiers of cages and a space of at least 35 cm must be allowed between the floor of the building and the bottom tier of cages;
  • cages must be fitted with suitable claw-shortening devices.

Final provisions

The competent authority must register the establishments covered by the Directive and give them a distinguishing number that will ensure the traceability of eggs placed on the market for human consumption.

Member States must ensure that inspections are carried out under the responsibility of the competent authority to check that the provisions of the Directive are complied with. They must submit a report on the inspections to the Commission, which must then inform the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health.

Veterinary experts from the Commission may, where necessary for the uniform application of the current Directive, carry out on-the-spot checks in cooperation with the competent authorities. The findings of those checks are discussed with the competent authorities, which then take any measures revealed to be necessary by the checks.

Not later than 1 January 2005, the Commission must submit to the Council a report, drawn up on the basis of an opinion from the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, on the different systems of rearing taking account of the requirements for the welfare of hens and the socio-economic implications of those systems. The report is to cover the negotiations within the World Trade Organisation and be accompanied by appropriate proposals.
The Council must act by a qualified majority on those proposals no later than 12 months after their submission.

Member States have until 1 January 2002 to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions, including any penalties, necessary to comply with the Directive and must forthwith inform the Commission thereof. In addition, they may maintain or apply within their territories more stringent provisions than those envisaged by the Directive.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 1999/74/EC

3.8.1999

1.1.2002

OJ L 203, 3.8.2009

Amending Act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 806/2003

5.6.2003

OJ L 122, 16.5.2003

Related Act(S)

Commission Directive 2002/4/EC of 30 January 2002 on the registration of establishments keeping laying hens, covered by Council Directive 1999/74/EC [Official Journal L 30 of 31 January 2002].

Member States must establish a system for registering every production site covered by Directive 1999/74/EC. The information required for registration includes the person responsible for the laying hens, the owner and the distinguishing number. Establishments must be registered before 31 May 3003. From 1 June 2003, establishments that are not registered may not continue or begin to operate.

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 8 January 2007 on the various systems of rearing laying hens in particular those covered by Directive 1999/74/EC [COM(2007) 865 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes

European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > Animal welfare

European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 78/923/EEC of 19 June 1978 concerning the conclusion of the European Convention for the protection of animals kept for farming purposes.

Council Decision 92/583/EEC of 14 December 1992 on the conclusion of the Protocol of amendment to the European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes.

Summary

This Convention applies to animals reared or kept for the production of food, wool, skin or fur or for other farming purposes, including animals resulting from genetic modifications or new genetic combinations. It concerns, in particular, animals kept in intensive stock-farming systems.

The aim of the Convention is to protect farm animals against any unnecessary suffering or injury caused by their housing, the feed they are given or the care they receive. In order to achieve that objective, those countries that have signed the Convention must comply with certain rules concerning, among other thing, farming premises (space and the environment), feed, animal health and the organisation of inspections of the technical installations used in modern intensive stock-farming systems.

The Convention creates a Standing Committee to monitor its application. The Committee may draw up and adopt recommendations to the signatory countries.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 78/923/EEC

19.6.1978

OJ L 323, 17.11.1978

Decision 92/583/EEC

14.12.1992

OJ L 395, 31.12.1992

Related Acts

General Directive concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes

Council Directive 98/58/EC [Official Journal L 221 of 8.8.1998].
This Directive lays down general rules on the protection of animals, of whatever species, including fish, reptiles and amphibians, reared for the production of food, wool, skin or fur or for other farming purposes.

Directives specific to certain species

Hens
Council Directive 1999/74/EC [Official Journal L 203 of 3.8.1999].

Calves
Council Directive 2008/119/EC [Official Journal L 10 of 15.1.2009].

Pigs
Council Directive 2008/120/EC [Official Journal L 47 of 18.2.2009].

Protection of farmed animals

Protection of farmed animals

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Protection of farmed animals

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > Animal welfare

Protection of farmed animals

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 98/58/EC of 20 July 1998 concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes [See amending act(s)].

Summary

All the Member States have ratified the European Convention for the Protection of Animals Kept for Farming Purposes, the main provisions of which relate to the provision of housing, feed and care appropriate to the needs of these animals.

Member States must take account of these animal welfare requirements when drawing up and implementing European legislation, especially in the area of agricultural policy.

Animals

This Directive applies to animals (including fish, reptiles and amphibians) reared or kept for the production of food, wool, skin or fur or for other farming purposes. It does not apply to:

  • wild animals;
  • animals intended for use in sporting or cultural events (shows);
  • experimental or laboratory animals;
  • invertebrate animals.

Rearing conditions

The Member States must adopt provisions to ensure that the owners or keepers of animals look after the welfare of their animals and see that they are not caused any unnecessary pain, suffering or injury. Based on past experience and present scientific knowledge, the rearing conditions relate to the following:

  • staff: animals must be looked after by a sufficient number of staff who have the appropriate professional skills, knowledge and competence;
  • inspections: all animals kept in husbandry systems must be inspected at least once a day. Injured or ill animals must be treated immediately and isolated if necessary in suitable premises;
  • maintaining records: the owner or keeper of the animals must keep a record of any medical treatment for at least three years;
  • freedom of movement: all animals, even if tethered, chained or confined, must be given enough space to move without unnecessary suffering or injury;
  • buildings and accommodation: materials used in the construction of buildings must be capable of being cleaned and disinfected. Air circulation, dust levels, temperature and relative humidity should be kept within acceptable limits. Animals kept in buildings must not be kept in permanent darkness or constantly exposed to artificial lighting;
  • automatic or mechanical equipment: automatic or mechanical equipment essential for the health and well-being of the animals must be inspected at least once a day. Where an artificial ventilation system is in use, an appropriate backup system must be in place to guarantee sufficient air renewal;
  • feed, water and other substances: the animals must be given a wholesome and appropriate diet, fed to them in sufficient quantities and at regular intervals. All other substances are prohibited, unless given for therapeutic or prophylactic reasons or for the purposes of zootechnical treatment. In addition, the feeding and watering equipment must minimise the risks of contamination;
  • mutilations: national rules on mutilation apply;
  • rearing methods: rearing methods that cause suffering or injury must not be used unless their impact is minimal, brief or expressly allowed by the national authorities. No animal should be kept on a farm if it is harmful to its health or welfare.

Inspections

Member States must take the necessary steps to ensure that the competent national authorities carry out inspections. They must report on these inspections to the Commission, which will use the reports to formulate proposals on harmonising inspections.

Evaluation and implementation

Every five years the Commission must report to the Council on the implementation of this Directive, with proposals for improvement, if appropriate. The Council adopts this report by qualified majority vote.

The Member States had to introduce the legislative, regulatory and administrative provisions (including any penalties) needed to comply with this Directive by 31 December 1999. They are allowed to keep or introduce stricter provisions.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 98/58/EC

8.8.1998

31.12.1999

OJ L 221 of 8.8.1998

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No

806/2003

5.6.2003

OJ L 122 of 16.5.2003

The successive amendments and corrections to Directive 98/58/EC have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated versionis for reference only.

Related Acts

Report from the Commission of 19 December 2006 on the experience acquired on the implementation of Directive 98/58/EC on the protection of animals kept for farming purposes [COM(2006) 838 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

In this report the Commission refers to the need for Member States to improve the planning and performance of inspections and the recording and transparency of inspection results. It emphasises the necessity of more training for the staff of the authorities concerned and a better notification system. It is also important to simplify procedures in order to avoid excessive bureaucracy.

Commission Decision 2006/778/EC of 14 November 2006 concerning minimum requirements for the collection of information during the inspections of production sites on which certain animals are kept for farming purposes [Official Journal L 314 of 15.11.2006].

Commission Decision 2000/50/EC of 17 December 1999 concerning minimum requirements for the inspection of holdings on which animals are kept for farming purposes [Official Journal L 19 of 25.01.2000].

Protection of animals at the time of killing

Protection of animals at the time of killing

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Protection of animals at the time of killing

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > Animal welfare

Protection of animals at the time of killing

Acte

Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 of 24 September 2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing.

Summary

This Regulation establishes rules applicable to the killing of animals kept for the production of food, wool, skin, fur, etc. It also lays down rules applicable to killing in emergencies and for the control of contagious diseases.

The rules established by this Regulation do not apply to animals killed as part of scientific experiments, hunting, cultural or sporting events and euthanasia practiced by a veterinarian, nor to poultry or rabbits killed for personal consumption.

Integration of animal welfare

This Regulation introduces standard operating procedures * for the welfare of animals at slaughter. Each operator * is responsible for establishing and applying these operating procedures in order to spare animals for slaughter as much pain, distress or suffering as possible.

In this context, operators should evaluate the efficiency of their stunning methods * using indicators based on the animals. Regular monitoring will ensure in particular that stunned animals do not regain consciousness before slaughter.

Manufacturers of restraining and stunning equipment should sell their equipment with instructions giving details in particular of the types of animals concerned and information on optimal use. Users must comply with manufacturers’ recommendations.

Moreover, an Animal Welfare Officer shall be appointed by the operator in each slaughterhouse. The Animal Welfare Officer is responsible for ensuring that the provisions of this Regulation are complied with. Small slaughterhouses shall be granted a derogation from this obligation.

Improving personnel competence

Slaughterhouse personnel dealing with live animals should possess a certificate of competence attesting that they have sufficient knowledge concerning animal welfare. The issue of the said certificate shall be subject to independent examination by an accredited body.

This Regulation also provides that Member States put in place a system of scientific support. This support will provide technical assistance for slaughterhouse inspection personnel as well as scientific assessments of new stunning equipment and new slaughterhouses. In addition, they shall be responsible for providing opinions on the capacity and suitability of the bodies which deliver the certificates of competence concerning animal welfare.

Depopulation

Emergency plans required by Community regulations on animal health (control of contagious diseases) should give details of the logistics procedures for slaughter in order to ensure that animal welfare is taken into account. Derogations to the said regulations will be granted when compliance with the provisions may have implications for human health or slow down the eradication of the disease. Furthermore, this Regulation improves the planning, monitoring, producing reports and the transparency of killing methods in the case of depopulation.

Technical requirements

A list of stunning methods shall be established in the Annex to the Regulation and shall describe the rules relating to and the context for the authorised use of each method. These methods should accompany scientific progress and take socio-economic questions into consideration. Moreover, technical changes could affect the construction, layout and equipment of slaughterhouses.

Context

This Regulation is also consistent with the Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals that introduced the concept of animal welfare indicators.

This Regulation will replace Directive 93/119/EC on the protection of animals at the time of slaughter or killing, which has never been amended despite scientific and technical developments.

Key terms of the Act
  • Standard operating procedures: a set of written instructions aimed at achieving uniformity of the performance of a specific function or standard.
  • Operator: any natural or legal person responsible for an undertaking which carries out activities covered by this Regulation.
  • Stunning: any intentionally induced process which causes loss of consciousness and sensibility without pain, including any process resulting in instantaneous death.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009

8.12.2009

OJ L 303 of 18.11.2009

Protection of calves intended for slaughter

Protection of calves intended for slaughter

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Protection of calves intended for slaughter

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > Animal welfare

Protection of calves intended for slaughter

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 2008/119/EC of 18 December 2008 laying down minimum standards for the protection of calves.

Summary

This Directive lays down minimum standards for the protection of calves * placed in units in which they are raised for slaughter. These standards, which have been compulsory since 1 January 2007, do not apply to calves kept with the cow for suckling, or to holdings with fewer than six calves.

This Directive does not cover the transport of calves, which is governed by Regulation (EC) No 1/2005.

Group or individual pens

Pens must be constructed in such a way as to allow each calf to lie down, rest, stand up and groom itself without difficulty.

From the age of eight weeks, individual pens are prohibited except in the case of illness. This measure is justified by the gregarious nature of bovine animals.

Before the age of eight weeks, individual pens are permitted. They are to be composed of perforated walls which allow the calves to have visual and tactile contact. Solid walls may be used only to isolate sick animals from the rest of the herd.

Group pens must comply with the following standards relating to space (see table below).

Weight of animal in kg Area in m2

‹ 150

1.5

‹ 220

1.7

› 220

1.8

Calves must not be tethered (except possibly during the feeding of milk for a period of not more than one hour) or muzzled.

Housing, pens, equipment and utensils must be cleaned and disinfected.

Floors must be smooth but not slippery, so as to prevent injury to the calves. The lying area must be comfortable, clean and adequately drained. Bedding is compulsory for calves less than two weeks old.

Health

Each calf must receive bovine colostrum as soon as possible after it is born (within the first six hours of life).

Any calf which is ill or injured must be treated without delay. Veterinary advice must be obtained as soon as possible for any calf which is not responding to the stock-keeper’s care.

Diet

Calves are to be fed at least twice a day. Each calf must have access to food at the same time as the others in the group.

Their food must contain sufficient iron to ensure an average blood haemoglobin level of at least 4.5 mmol/litre, and a minimum daily ration of fibrous food must be provided for each calf over two weeks old.

Diet must be adapted to the age and weight of the animal. It must also be adapted to its behaviour and physiological needs.

Calves over two weeks of age should have access to fresh water.

Monitoring of animals

Housed calves must be inspected at least twice daily and mechanical equipment at least once daily. Where an artificial ventilation system is used, provision must be made for an alarm system (tested regularly) and a ventilation back-up system.

Light levels

Calves should be kept in conditions with natural or artificial lighting (equivalent to the period of natural light between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.).

Inspections

Member States must carry out inspections every year on a statistically representative sample.

The Commission may send veterinary experts to carry out on-the-spot checks with the assistance of the national inspectors.

Imports

To import animals from third countries, a certificate is required stating that they have received treatment equivalent to that granted to animals of Community origin.

Specific provisions

Member States may, within their territories, apply stricter provisions than those laid down in this Directive. In this case, they must inform the Commission in advance of any such measures.

Context

This Directive repeals Directive 91/629/EEC.

Key terms of the Act
  • Calf: a bovine animal up to six months old.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2008/119/EC

4.2.2009

OJ L 10 of 15.1.2009