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Animal Welfare main Community legislative references

The European Commission's activities in this area start with the recognition that animals are sentient beings. The general aim is to ensure that animals do not endure avoidable pain or suffering, and obliges the owner/keeper of animals to respect minimum welfare requirements.

Title II of TFEU lists some key principles the Union should respect. Here an Article 13 has been introduced with the Lisbon Treaty. It states that: "In formulating and implementing the Union's agriculture, fisheries, transport, internal market, research and technological development and space policies, the Union and the Member States shall, since animals are sentient beings, pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals, while respecting the legislative or administrative provisions and customs of the Member States relating in particular to religious rites, cultural traditions and regional heritage."

Brochure on EU Animal Welfare Strategy 2012-2015 BG CS DA DE EL ES ET FI FR GA HU IT LT LV MT NL PL PT RO SK SL SV pdf

European Partnership on alternatives to surgical castration of pigs

Main international organisations active on animal welfare and cooperating with the EU Commission:

World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)
Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)

Animal Welfare video


Other links :

Directorate General for Environment is responsible for the protection of wild animals and the protection of animals used for experimental or scientific purposes.

Directorate for Research organised in April 2002 a " Seminar on EU research on farm animal welfare"

DG SANCO is responsible for legislation on cosmetic products, including the animal testing ban and the marketing ban for cosmetics and ingredients of cosmetics tested on animals ; for more information please visit:


Animal Welfare Newsletter:

FACTSHEET: Animal welfare: How to make an informed choice es fr it pt pdf Updated 12-01-2010

FACTSHEET: Animal welfare - Ensuring the humane and responsible treatment of farmed animals de es fr (March 2007)pdf Updated 04-06-2007

Results of an EU-25 EUROBAROMETER survey pdf - ppt(28Mb) - Flash(8Mb)

(Vol.A pdf - excel) (Vol.B pdf - excel) on consumers' attitudes to the welfare of farmed animals. Updated : 13-12-2005