Tag Archives: Farming

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 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


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


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.


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.


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.


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



OJ L 182, 12.7.2007

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.