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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.

Then, a public consultation was held from 15th October 2021 to 21st January 2022 to gather views and experience of citizens and stakeholders on the fitness of the current rules and on how they could be improved. See the factual summary report of the 59281 contributions received.

In September 2022, the Fitness Check was concluded. Its results, presented in a Commission Staff Working Document, confirms the need to revise and modernise the EU animal welfare legislation, and provides a good basis for this revision.

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 broilers; of calves; of pigs; of laying hens; of dairy cows; of ducks, geese and quails (when it comes to their housing conditions); as well as the welfare during transport of pigs, bovines, equids, small ruminants and animals transported in containers. 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.

In the meantime, the European Commission asked two of the voluntary initiatives of the EU Platform on Animal Welfare to provide them support on possible elements to improve the welfare of equids and pets in the updated EU animal welfare legislation. The produced recommendations are available here.

Related links

4. OKTOBER 2022
Staff Working Document (2022)329
(332.7 KB - PDF)
5. OKTOBER 2022
Staff Working Document (2022)328
(3.88 MB - PDF)
9. JANUAR 2023
Inception Impact Assessments - Revision of the EU legislation on animal welfare
(374.92 KB - PDF)