Tag Archives: Animals

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


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].


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.


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.

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


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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

Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009


OJ L 303 of 18.11.2009

European Union Animal Health Strategy

European Union Animal Health Strategy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Union Animal Health Strategy


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

Food safety > Animal health

European Union Animal Health Strategy (2007-2013)

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on a new Animal Health Strategy for the European Union (2007-2013) where ‘Prevention is better than cure’ [COM(2007) 539 final – not published in the Official Journal].


The European animal health strategy is based on an evaluation started by the Commission in 2004 and covers the health of all animals in the European Union (EU).

It has the following objectives:

  • to protect public health and food safety;
  • to promote farming and the rural economy;
  • to ensure the necessary animal movements;
  • to contribute to the sustainable development of the EU.

The first pillar: prioritisation of EU intervention

The foundations of Community action must be based on an evaluation of the main threats to animal health. This analysis must determine the relevance of these threats to the objectives of the EU strategy, the ‘acceptable level of risk’ for the Community and the relative priority of the action to be taken to reduce the risk. In this respect, Community action will be aimed at reducing this risk to a negligible level, since zero risk cannot be achieved. Furthermore, the Community applies the precautionary principle, which provides for the use of temporary measures if there is a potentially serious threat to health but no scientific certainty of this.

The representatives of all interested parties in the risk management process are called on to provide their input to Community decision-making. Risks will be analysed and managed by defining quantifiable objectives, studying resources and assessing the progress achieved.

The second pillar: a modern animal health framework

The EU and international organisations, such as the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Bank, recognise the importance of protecting animal health.

The major Community instrument for protecting animal health consists of adapted and constantly updated legislation that applies the principles of the Community policy and its international obligations. With a view to improving this legislation and making it more effective, the EU hopes to put in place a clear, single regulatory framework consistent with OIE guidelines and the Codex Alimentarius.

Appropriate sharing of costs, benefits and responsibilities could contribute to the strategy’s success and help limit the financial risks for Member States and the Community by providing incentives for preventing animal-related threats.

The Member States are responsible for securing the EU’s external borders against disease incursions and leading the response to outbreaks of exotic diseases. Moreover, compensation for private property destroyed for the public good must be provided by governments. Responsibility for the health of animals lies primarily with animal owners and collectively with the industry. In order for the strategy to be successful, all parties, including the insurance sector, need to be fully committed participants.

The Codex Alimentarius and the OIE are essential references for legislation on animal diseases. The EU follows their guidelines and encourages other international members to base their legislation on the same values. In addition, the EU is considering the possibility of Community membership of the OIE.

Improved animal health will increase the competitiveness of European companies. Moreover, by harmonising these rules, it will be possible to ensure fair competition in the Community market and extend this common basis to imports. With regard to exports, better prioritisation of actions against health barriers should help ensure better access to export markets.

The third pillar: animal-related threat prevention, surveillance and crisis preparedness

The promotion and financing of on-farm biosecurity * measures should constitute important reference criteria for zoning and compartmentalisation procedures.

Movements of food of animal origin and animal feed are identified and traced using an exchange control system and a paper-based system identifying each animal. With the aim of integrating the system at EU level, an electronic system will gradually be introduced.

Measures have been envisaged to improve border biosecurity without disrupting the cross-border movement of people and agricultural goods, which include not only improving current legislation and cooperation between the parties involved in customs checks, but also providing technical assistance to developing countries, so that they can meet Community standards.

The EU proposes supporting veterinary surveillance through improved cooperation between the parties concerned and appropriate financial resources and by encouraging training in the sector. The scientific information gathered from this surveillance activity can aid decision-making for the EU institutions, governments and other stakeholders in the animal health protection sector.

The EU must be better prepared to deal with emergencies and it can do so by adopting an integrated approach and through the more widespread use of vaccines.

The fourth pillar: science, innovation and research

The EU is encouraging scientific and technological development in the field of public and animal health. To this end, Community and national reference laboratories and European agencies (particularly the European Food Safety Authority and the European Medicines Agency) have been called upon to cooperate and play a key role in scientific work.

Innovation and research in the food safety sector depend on a whole series of instruments, such as the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and the Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals.

Key terms used in the act
Biosecurity: the measures taken to combat diseases or to prevent them from spreading. These measures relate to the treatment of new and sick animals, the transport of people, animals and equipment, the feeding of animals and the cleaning of their holdings.