European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes

The purpose of this Convention, signed under the auspices of the Council of Europe, is to lay down minimum common standards for the protection of animals kept for farming purposes in the signatory countries.

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.

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.

Decision 78/923/EEC

Decision 92/583/EEC

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

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

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

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

Protection of farmed animals

Directive 98/58/EC — protection of animals kept for farming purposes

It lays down general rules concerning the protection of farmed animals, irrespective of the species.
These apply to farmed animals destined for the production of foodstuffs, wool, skin or fur, or for other farming purposes, including fish, reptiles and amphibians.

It has applied since 8 August 1998. EU countries had to incorporate it into national law by 31 December 1999.

KEY POINTS

All EU countries have ratified the European Convention for the Protection of Animals Kept for Farming Purposes. The main articles of this relate to the provision of housing, feed and care appropriate to the needs of these animals.
EU countries must take account of these animal welfare requirements when drawing up and implementing EU 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.

To learn more details about specific categories of animals, see also:

Protection of laying hens
Protection of calves
Protection of pigs.
Rearing conditions

EU countries must adopt rules to ensure that the owners or keepers of animals look after the welfare of their animals and see that those animals are not caused any unnecessary pain, suffering or injury. Based on past experience and current 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

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

Evaluation and implementation

Every 5 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.

EU countries are allowed to keep or introduce stricter provisions.

Official controls regulation

Regulation (EU) 2017/625, the EU’s new legislation on the official controls of human food and animal feed, amends certain minor technical details of the directive. These changes will apply from 14 December 2019.

DOCUMENTS

Council Directive 98/58/EC of 20 July 1998 concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes (OJ L 221, 8.8.1998, pp. 23–27)

Successive amendments to Directive 98/58/EC have been incorporated into the original document. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Regulation (EU) 2017/625 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2017 on official controls and other official activities performed to ensure the application of food and feed law, rules on animal health and welfare, plant health and plant protection products, amending Regulations (EC) No 999/2001, (EC) No 396/2005, (EC) No 1069/2009, (EC) No 1107/2009, (EU) No 1151/2012, (EU) No 652/2014, (EU) 2016/429 and (EU) 2016/2031 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Regulations (EC) No 1/2005 and (EC) No 1099/2009 and Council Directives 98/58/EC, 1999/74/EC, 2007/43/EC, 2008/119/EC and 2008/120/EC, and repealing Regulations (EC) No 854/2004 and (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Directives 89/608/EEC, 89/662/EEC, 90/425/EEC, 91/496/EEC, 96/23/EC, 96/93/EC and 97/78/EC and Council Decision 92/438/EEC (Official Controls Regulation) (OJ L 95, 7.4.2017, pp. 1–142)

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 (OJ L 314, 15.11.2006, pp. 39–47)

Protection of calves intended for slaughter

Directive 2008/119/EC — minimum standards for the protection of calves lays down minimum standards for the protection of confined calves intended for human consumption.It has applied since 4 February 2009. The directive codifies and repeals previous legislation (Directive 91/629/EEC) which had to be incorporated into national law by 1 January 1994.Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union introduced the recognition that animals are sentient beings.r the supervision of the competent authorities.

KEY POINTS

This directive lays down minimum standards for the protection of calves (i.e. bovine animals of up to 6 months old) 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 6 calves.
The 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 8 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 8 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 2 weeks old.

Health

Each calf must receive bovine colostrum as soon as possible after it is born (within the first 6 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 2 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 2 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, an alarm system (tested regularly) and a ventilation back-up system must be installed.

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

EU countries must carry out inspections every year on a statistically representative sample.
The European Commission may send veterinary experts to carry out on-the-spot checks with the assistance of the national inspectors.
Imports

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

Specific rules

EU countries may, within their territories, apply stricter rules than those laid down in this directive. In this case, they must inform the Commission in advance of these measures.

Official controls regulation

Regulation (EU) 2017/625, the EU’s new legislation on the official controls of human food and animal feed, amends certain minor technical details of the directive. These changes will apply

DOCUMENTS

Council Directive 2008/119/EC of 18 December 2008 laying down minimum standards for the protection of calves (Codified version) (OJ L 10, 15.1.2009, pp. 7–13)

Regulation (EU) 2017/625 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2017 on official controls and other official activities performed to ensure the application of food and feed law, rules on animal health and welfare, plant health and plant protection products, amending Regulations (EC) No 999/2001, (EC) No 396/2005, (EC) No 1069/2009, (EC) No 1107/2009, (EU) No 1151/2012, (EU) No 652/2014, (EU) 2016/429 and (EU) 2016/2031 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Regulations (EC) No 1/2005 and (EC) No 1099/2009 and Council Directives 98/58/EC, 1999/74/EC, 2007/43/EC, 2008/119/EC and 2008/120/EC, and repealing Regulations (EC) No 854/2004 and (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Directives 89/608/EEC, 89/662/EEC, 90/425/EEC, 91/496/EEC, 96/23/EC, 96/93/EC and 97/78/EC and Council Decision 92/438/EEC (Official Controls Regulation) (OJ L 95, 7.4.2017, pp. 1–142)

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 (OJ L 3, 5.1.2005, pp. 1–44)

Protection of animals at the time of killing

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

It introduces welfare rules for the killing or slaughter of animals kept for the production of food and products such as fur and leather. It also covers killing of animals on farms in other contexts such as disease control situations.
The regulation does not apply to animals killed in the wild, or as part of scientific experiments, hunting, cultural or sporting events and euthanasia practiced by a veterinarian, nor to poultry, rabbits or hares for private domestic consumption.It applies from 1 January 2013.

KEY POINTS

Animals must be spared any avoidable pain, distress or suffering during their killing. Businesses, such as slaughterhouse operators, must ensure that animals:

are provided physical comfort and protection, kept clean, protected from injury and handled and housed taking into account normal behaviour;
do not show signs of avoidable pain or fear or abnormal behaviour;
do not suffer from prolonged withdrawal of feed or water;
are protected from avoidable interaction with other animals that could harm their welfare.
Facilities used for killing must be capable of fulfilling all these conditions at all times of the year.

Restraining and stunning methods

The regulation sets out detailed rules about restraining and stunning animals, including the training of operators and the proper maintenance of equipment. It covers the application of different methods for different animals. In particular, stunned animals must remain unconscious until death, unless they are subject to particular methods prescribed by religious rites, which must take place in a slaughterhouse.

Certificate of competence

Killing and related operations can only be carried out by persons with the level of competence to do so without causing the animals any avoidable pain, distress or suffering. Some operations require individual certificates of competence, for instance:

the handling and care of animals before they are restrained;
the restraint of animals for the purpose of stunning or killing;
the stunning of animals and the assessment of effective stunning;
the shackling or hoisting or bleeding of live animals;
slaughtering in accordance with religious practices.
The health certificate accompanying meat imported from non-EU countries must certify that the equivalent requirements have been met.

Slaughterhouses

There are detailed rules for the construction, the equipment and operations of slaughterhouses. Procedures must be constantly monitored by slaughterhouse operators, who must also appoint an Animal Welfare Officer to help ensure compliance. The following methods of restraint are among those banned:

suspending or hoisting conscious animals;
mechanical clamping or tying of the legs or feet;
There are some exceptions where an inverted position is allowed in the case of poultry or in the context of slaughter for religious rites.

Depopulation and emergency killing

An action plan must be in place to ensure compliance with this regulation, before any depopulation operation begins. In addition, depopulation operations must be reported every year. The report must include, in particular:

the reasons for the depopulation;
the number and the species of animals killed;
the stunning and killing methods used;
difficulties encountered and solutions to minimise the suffering of the animals concerned.
Where animals face severe pain or suffering, the keeper of the animals concerned must take all necessary measures to kill the animals as soon as possible.

Non-compliance and penalties

EU countries must ensure that the rules are implemented and that the competent authorities have the power to:

change procedures, or slow down or stop production;
increase the frequency of checks;
suspend or withdraw certificates of competence.
Penalties must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

ACT

Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 of 24 September 2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing (OJ L 303, 18.11.2009, pp. 1-30)

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on systems restraining bovine animals by inversion or any unnatural position (COM(2016) 48 final of 8.2.2016)

Protection of laboratory animals

Directive 2010/63/EU on protecting animals used for scientific purposes

It sets out measures designed to protect animals used for scientific purposes, especially basic or applied research, particularly for the production of medical products.

It also introduces protective measures for animals used for educational purposes.

It replaces and repeals Directive 86/609/EEC.

KEY POINTS

In order to protect laboratory animals and enable research to advance further, these measures aim at limiting animal testing to an absolute minimum and setting up compulsory standards concerning their use, housing and care. High animal welfare standards benefit both the animals and science.

Scope

The directive applies to all live, non-human vertebrate animals and also to certain invertebrates which are likely to feel pain (cuttlefish, octopus, etc.).

The use for testing of non-human primates is subject to restrictions and the use of great apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orang-utans) is forbidden.

Fields subject to animal testing

Animal testing is authorised only in procedures for which the purpose is:

basic research;
translational and applied research aimed at the prevention, diagnosis or treatment of human or animal diseases;
the development, manufacture or testing of the quality, effectiveness and safety of drugs, food and animal feed, chemicals, etc. for any of the aims above;
protecting the natural environment in the interests of human or animal health;
research directed at species conservation;
higher education or training;
forensic investigations.

Evaluation of projects involving experimentation on animals

The use of animals for experimental purposes is authorised in cases where no satisfactory substitute method exists.

Projects involving experiments on live animals must be assessed by the competent authority. They may not begin until they have received a positive assessment, demonstrating that the use of animals is justified and that the expected advantages outweigh the harm caused to the animal, taking into account ethical considerations.

The number of animals used in a project must be reduced to a minimum without however compromising the objectives of the project.

The living conditions and methods used in the procedures must minimise any unnecessary pain, suffering or distress to the animals.

Animal welfare

Animals used for experimental purposes must:

receive appropriate care and treatment;
be housed in cages big enough for them and in an environment adapted to each species, in accordance with the standards listed in the directive’s Annex III.
Establishments should ensure:

animals are housed in cages which are big enough for them and in an environment which is adapted to each species, in accordance with the standards listed in Annex III to the directive;
social animals should be housed in cages and ‘enrichment’ techniques are used to increase the range of activities possible for the animal, particularly encouraging physical exercise, exploration and cognitive activities in line with their natural behaviour;
they set up an animal welfare body to provide advice on animal-welfare issues and on new ways to ‘replace, reduce and refine’ the animal use (known as the ‘Three Rs’ principle). This body should include the person responsible for the welfare of animals and be advised by a designated veterinarian. Their work is supported by national committees set up in each EU country for the protection of animals used.

Methods of killing must limit the pain, suffering and distress felt by the animals. Animals may be killed only by a person with the required skills in the establishment of the breeder, supplier or user, in accordance with the methods listed in the directive’s Annex IV.

More generally, all individuals who interact with the animals should have the appropriate training and practice and should have had their competence assessed before working without supervision.

Procedures

The only authorised procedures are those which have been approved as part of an authorised project.

Procedures are:

classified according to their degree of severity, based on the directive’s Annex VIII;
to be carried out under anaesthesia or using another method (analgesia, etc.) except if that is not appropriate or if anaesthesia is judged to be more traumatic to the animal than the procedure itself.

As far as possible, the life of the animal must be spared. The procedures are designed to result in the death of as few animals as possible and to reduce the duration and intensity of suffering.

Reusing an animal is a way of reducing the total number of laboratory animals. Before reusing an animal, the actual severity of the cumulated procedures, the health of the animal and the opinion of the veterinarian must be taken into account.

At the end of a procedure, the veterinarian or a competent person must decide if the animal can be kept alive. Animals kept alive must receive appropriate care and accommodation as defined in Annex III.

Authorisation

Breeders, suppliers and users and their establishments must be authorised by a competent authority and must be registered with it.

Authorised establishments must have installations and equipment adapted to the species of animals housed and the performance of the procedures (where they are carried out).

They should have records in which they register all developments in information on the animals, their origin and purpose. These records are kept for 5 years and made available to the public.

Furthermore, each dog, cat and non-human primate must have an individual identification and history file containing relevant reproductive, veterinary and social information on the individual animal and the projects in which it has been used.

Inspections

The competent authorities carry out regular inspections of all breeders, suppliers and users and their establishments in order to ensure compliance with the requirements of this directive.

The frequency of inspections is determined by the risks specific to each establishment. However, at least one-third of the establishments of users are inspected each year and a proportion of these are without prior warning.

Breeders, suppliers and users of non-human primates are inspected at least once a year.

Transparency

To ensure a better understanding of where and how animals are used, every year, EU countries must collect and make publicly available statistical information on the use of animals in procedures, including information on the actual severity of the procedures and on the origin and species of non-human primates used in procedures. This may be in the form of non-technical summaries of authorised projects which do not breach the anonymity of the users.

BACKGROUND

The EU’s ultimate objective is to put an end to experiments on animals by replacing such experiments with a substitute, non-animal, approaches. However, given current scientific knowledge, it is not yet feasible to replace all animal experiments. For this reason, the legislation seeks to ensure that the situation of animals which are still used for experiments is improved and in accordance with the rule that tests on animals must be replaced, reduced and refined wherever possible.It entered into force on 9 November 2010 and had to apply in the EU countries from 1 January 2013.

DOCUMENTS

Directive 2010/63/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2010 on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes (OJ L 276, 20.10.2010, pp. 33-79)

Commission Implementing Decision 2012/707/EU of 14 November 2012 establishing a common format for the submission of the information pursuant to Directive 2010/63/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes (OJ L 320, 17.11.2012, pp. 33-50)

Successive amendments to Decision 2012/707/EU have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Commission Recommendation 2007/526/EC of 18 June 2007 on guidelines for the accommodation and care of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes (OJ L 197, 30.7.2007, pp. 1-89)

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