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Food Safety

EU animal welfare legislation

Harmonised EU rules are in place covering a range of animal species and welfare-affecting issues.

Whilst Council Directive 98/58/EC lays down the minimum standards for the protection of all farmed animals, specific directives are addressed at the protection of individual animals. 

EU legislation also sets welfare standards for their transport and conditions at the time of stunning and slaughter.

Legislation on wild animals and animals used for scientific purposes are under the responsibility of DG Environment.

On 20 May 2020, the Commission announced a revision of the EU animal welfare legislation to align it with the latest scientific evidence. On 7 December 2023, the Commission adopted the proposal of revision of the Regulation on the protection of animals during transport. In addition, it adopted a proposal for a new Regulation on the welfare of dogs and cats and their traceability. The work is still ongoing for the other planned legislative proposals. 

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