The first EU rules on animals kept on the farm were adopted in 1986 and concerned the protection of laying hens. Council Directives followed in 1991 first on the protection of calves then of pigs.
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.
Legislation has been further developed since that time to progressively improve the welfare status of farmed animals and to set standards for their transport and conditions at the time of stunning and slaughter.