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Food Safety

Revision of the animal welfare legislation

The Farm to Fork Strategy adopted by the Commission on 20 May 2020 announced that the Commission will, by the end of 2023, revise the animal welfare legislation to align it with the latest scientific evidence. In addition, the revision will broaden its scope, make its enforcement easier and ultimately ensure a higher level of animal welfare.

The Commission plans to revise the following pieces of legislation: the Directive on the protection of animals kept for farming purposes, four Directives laying down minimum standards for the protection of laying hens, broilers,pigs and calves; and the Regulations on the protection of animals during transport and  at the time of killing.

In view of this revision, the Commission is preparing an Impact Assessment, whose objective is to assess the economic, social and environmental impact of the envisaged changes to the EU animal welfare legislation.  

As a first step, and based on the preliminary findings of the evaluation of the current legislation (“Fitness check”), the Commission published on 6 July 2021 an Inception Impact Assessment Roadmap presenting the policy options envisaged to be examined in the Impact Assessment. The roadmap was open for public feedback until 24 August 2021. It covered four areas of animal welfare: at farm level, during transport, at slaughter, and animal welfare labelling.

An open public consultation was launched on 15 October 2021 and will run until 21 January 2022.

Also in view of this revision of the animal welfare legislation, the Commission has mandated the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to develop scientific opinions on the welfare of animals during transport, the welfare of broilers, of calves, of pigs, of laying hens, of dairy cows, as well as the welfare of ducks, geese and quails when it comes to their housing conditions. In addition, the Commission sent a roadmap to EFSA summarising the animal welfare mandates it plans to send to EFSA between 2023 and 2028 to cover other animal species.