Carry on reading and find out!

Who hasn‘t come across this kind of thing – in the media and the Internet, you are repeatedly confronted with scandalous articles reporting that animals (including farm animals) are suffering. And when you read something like that, you ask yourself the question:

Are there no laws for the protection and welfare of animals in Germany and Europe?

You will probably say to yourself – of course we have such laws and they are enforced with the appropriate severity. This applies both to Germany, where very strict laws are in force, and the European Union, which has laid down clear limits for the treatment of animals. And the prime concern at all times is the well-being of the animals. Throughout their entire lives:

  • on the farm
  • during transport
  • and in the slaughterhouse

You could of course ask yourself the question: why are such laws necessary?

Many people can only think of one answer – to make sure the animals do not suffer!

There is, however, another answer to this question:

We need such laws, because we have been eating meat since time immemorial – and also because the skin of cattle has been used as leather to protect and help us for the same length of time.

Whether we like it or not, it is a personal decision that each individual must take for himself. But what applies to us all is that, as human beings, we bear the responsibility that this use of animals, which has applied since time began, takes place in a way that is based on dignity.

Why do we have laws that all?

This is also an important question. Let us consider a very different example – we travel on the road every day by car, motorcycle or bicycle. There are clear and unambiguous rules, instructions and restraints we are required to abide by. In spite of this, there are infringements, deviations, violations, convictions, driving bans and also accidents of course that result in people being injured or property damaged.

As a result of all this, we can come to the following conclusion:

We need rules for our society that are laid down in laws, in order to reduce the frequency of deviations from the applicable rules. At the same time, we should be aware that, in spite of this, infringements will repeatedly occur – whether as a result of simple negligence, a wilful act or even criminal intent.

For this reason, the following can also apply to the protection of animals:

We need laws and we have laws. What is far more important, however, is that each and every one of us, with his awareness, his understanding of the legal and ethical rules and above all with his behaviour, should do his best to ensure that, although the laws are there, the legal application of such laws is not necessary.

Which laws for the protection of animals should really be aware of?

Do you actually know what weighting the protection of animals is also and specifically given to farm animals by Germany and the European Union?
To show you just how wide-ranging the guidelines here in the European Union are and the laws in Germany, we have selected some of them for you:

Here are a few examples:


of 20 July 1998 concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes

Article 3

Member States shall make provision to ensure that the owners or keepers take all reasonable steps to ensure the welfare of animals under their care and to ensure that those animals are not caused any unnecessary pain, suffering or injury.

Article 4

Members States shall ensure that the conditions under which animals (other than fish, reptiles or amphibians) are bred or kept, having regard to their species and to their degree of development, adaptation and domestication, and to their physiological and ethological needs in accordance with established experience and scientific knowledge, comply with the provisions set out in the Annex.

Article 6

(1) Member States shall ensure that inspections are carried out by the competent authority to check compliance with the provisions of this Directive. Such inspections may be carried out at the same time as checks for other purposes.


of 20 July 1998 concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes

There is an extensive appendix to the European Directives, which defines everything clearly and precisely:



1. Animals shall be cared for by a sufficient number of staff who possess the appropriate ability, knowledge and professional competence.


2. All animals kept in husbandry systems in which their welfare depends on frequent human attention shall be inspected at least once a day. Animals in other systems shall be inspected at intervals sufficient to avoid any suffering.

3. Adequate lighting (fixed or portable) shall be available to enable the animals to be thoroughly inspected at any time.

4. Any animal which appears to be ill or injured must be cared for appropriately without delay and, where an animal does not respond to such care, veterinary advice must be obtained as soon as possible. Where necessary, sick or injured animals shall be isolated in suitable accommodation with, where appropriate, dry comfortable bedding.

Record keeping

5. The owner or keeper of the animals shall maintain a record of any medicinal treatment given and of the number of mortalities found to each inspection.
Where equivalent information is required to be kept for other purposes, this shall also suffice for the purposes of this Directive.

6. These records shall be retained for a period of at least three years and shall be made available to the competent authority when carrying out an inspection or when otherwise requested.

Freedom of movement

7. The freedom of movement of an animal, having regard to its species and in accordance with established experience and scientific knowledge, must not be restricted in such a way as to cause it unnecessary suffering or injury.
Where an animal is continuously or regularly tethered or confined, it must be given the space appropriate to its physiological and ethological needs in accordance with established experience and scientific knowledge.

Buildings and accommodation

8. Materials to be used for the construction of accommodation, and in particular for the construction of pens an equipment with which the animals may come into contact, must not be harmful to the animals and must be capable of being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

9. Accommodation and fittings for securing animals shall be constructed and maintained so that there are no sharp edges or protrusions likely to cause injury to the animals.

10. Air circulation, dust levels, temperature, relative air humidity and gas
concentrations must be kept within limits which are not harmful to the animals.

11. Animals kept in buildings must not be kept either in permanent darkness or without an appropriate period of rest from artificial lighting. Where the natural light available is insufficient to meet the physiological and ethological needs of the animals, appropriate artificial lighting must be provided.

Animals not kept in buildings

12. Animals not kept in buildings shall where necessary and possible be given protection from adverse weather conditions, predators and risks to their health.

Automatic or mechanical equipment

13. All automated or mechanical equipment essential for the health and well-being of the animals must be inspected at least once daily. Where defects are discovered, these must be rectified immediately, or if this is impossible, appropriate steps must be taken to safeguard the health and well-being of the animals.

Where the health and well-being of the animals is dependent on an artificial ventilation system, provision must be made for an appropriate backup system to guarantee sufficient air renewal to preserve the health and well-being of the animals in the event of failure of the system, and an alarm system must be provided to give warning of breakdown. The alarm system must be tested regularly.

Feed, water and other substances

14. Animals must be fed a wholesome diet which is appropriate to their age and species and which is fed to them in sufficient quantity to maintain them in good health and satisfy their nutritional needs. No animal shall be provided with food or liquid in a manner, nor shall such food or liquid contain any substance, which may cause unnecessary suffering or injury.

15. All animals must have access to feed at intervals appropriate to their physiological needs.

16. All animals must have access to a suitable water supply or be able to satisfy their fluid intake needs by other means.

17. Feeding and watering equipment must be designed, constructed and placed so that contamination of food and water and the harmful effects of competition between the animals are minimised.

18. No other substance, with the exception of those given for therapeutic, or prophylactic purposes or for the purposes of zoo-technical treatment as defined in Article 1(2)(c) of Directive 96/22/EEC (1), must be administered to an animal unless it has been demonstrated by scientific studies of animal welfare or established experience that the effect of that substance is not detrimental to the health or welfare of the animal.


19. Pending the adoption of specific provisions concerning mutilations in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 5, and without prejudice to Directive 91/630/EEC, relevant national provisions shall apply in accordance with the general rules of the Treaty.

Breeding procedures

20. Natural or artificial breeding or breeding procedures which case or are likely to cause suffering or injury to any of the animals concerned must not be practised.
This provision shall not preclude the use of certain procedures likely to cause minimal or momentary suffering or injury, or which might necessitate interventions which would not cause lasting injury, where these are allowed by national provisions.

21. No animal shall be kept for farming purposes unless it can reasonably be expected, on the basis of its genotype or phenotype, that it can be kept without detrimental effect on its health or welfare.

Link to the original texts:

Council Directive 98/58/EC of 20 July 1998 concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes

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