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Food Safety

There is no specific EU legislation concerning cattle but the general rules laid down in Council Directive 98/58/EC do apply. In addition the Council of Europe Convention on the protection of animals kept for farming purposes and its recommendations have been ratified by the EU and thus form part of Union law. Those which concern cattle must therefore also be observed.

In 2020, the Commission announced the launch of several new activities in order to revise the animal welfare legislation to align it with the latest scientific evidences. This included requests to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to prepare new Scientific Opinions on the welfare of cattle (during transport and at slaughter) and on the welfare of dairy cows. The Commission  also established a subgroup under the EU Platform on Animal Welfare dedicated to the welfare of calves and dairy cows.

In May 2021, the Commission designated a third EU Reference Centre for animal welfare focusing on the welfare of ruminants and equines. The website of EURCAW Ruminants & Equines was launched in October 2022.

Dairy cows - Care4dairy

In 2021, the European Union funded and launched the Care4dairy project. This project aimed to produce best practices guides relevant to dairy production across EU Member States. The deliverables, 21 factsheets and 4 best practice guides to be translated in 7 EU languages, will support the welfare of dairy calves, heifers and cows and end-of-career animals. The project is farmer-centred and benefits from the involvement of stakeholders from farming and veterinary organisations, as well as academia. The educational materials, including videos and podcasts, are all available on the website of the project.

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