Council Directive 2008/119/EC (December 2008, as amended, since 1st January 2007) prohibits the use of confined individual pens after the age of eight weeks. The Directive, amongst other things, sets out minimum dimensions for individual pens and for calves kept in group. Calves are not to be tethered (except under very specific circumstances) and must be fed according to their physiological needs. In particular their food must contain sufficient iron and a minimum daily ration and fibre food must be provided.

For full details please refer to the directive.

The scientific opinion on the intensive farming systems which comply with the requirements of the well-being of calves as well as the socio-economic implications of different systems was prepared by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) based on a request from the Commission.

Please refer to the EFSA page for their scientific opinions on the welfare aspects of calves farming.