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Animal Health and Welfare
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Animal Welfare on the Farm

In 1998, Council Directive 98/58/EC on the protection of animals kept for farming purposes gave general rules for the protection of animals of all species kept for the production of food, wool, skin or fur or for other farming purposes, including fish, reptiles of amphibians. These rules are based on the European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes. They reflect the so-called 'Five Freedoms' as adopted by the Farm Animal Welfare Council:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst - access to fresh water and a diet for full health and vigour,
  • Freedom from discomfort - an appropriate environment with shelter and comfortable rest area,
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease - prevention or rapid treatment,
  • Freedom to express normal behaviour - adequate space and facilities, company of the animal's own kind,
  • Freedom from fear and distress - conditions and treatment which avoid mental sufferings.

Community legislation concerning the welfare conditions of farm animals lays down minimum standards. National governments may adopt more stringent rules provided they are compatible with the provisions of the Treaty.

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