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Animal-welfare oriented husbandry

All animal keepers, in the private domain as well, must meet the requirements of animal welfare. Animal breeding and animal husbandry are important mainstays of Germany's agricultural sector. In this regard, animal health is key to the welfare and productivity of the animals. Safe animal feed, responsible use of veterinary medicines and the effective prevention and control of animal diseases help to achieve this objective.

Animal husbandry is constantly faced with new challenges as a result of the expansion of international trade and the increasing worldwide demand for meat.

With regard to the husbandry of farm animals, the legislator has laid down several requirements for the breeding, husbandry, medical treatment, transport and slaughter of animals. They aim to ensure that animals are kept in accordance with their needs and that they are spared unnecessary suffering and environmental strain. Where farmers offer their animals conditions that go far beyond minimum statutory requirements, the products may bear the animal welfare label initiated and promoted by the BMEL. A higher level of animal welfare involves higher production costs and consumer prices.

BMEL Animal Welfare Initiative

Logo BMEL Animal Welfare Initiative

Minding animals - new ways to improve animal welfare

On 17 September 2014, Federal Minister Christian Schmidt launched a new initiative for more animal welfare. With the start of the Animal Welfare Initiative, he wants to bring animal welfare further into the mainstream of society.

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Minding animals - new ways to improve animal welfare

Titelbild der Broschüre mit den Eckpunkten der Tierwohl-Initiative

Concept paper

Animals are our fellow creatures. Ensuring their welfare is an obligation for all people handling animals. Since 2002, animal welfare has been enshrined as a State goal in the German Basic Law and has therefore become a binding guideline for government action.

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Improving animal welfare in Germany

Cow and calf on a meadow

The BMEL pursues a comprehensive strategy in the area of animal welfare. This includes numerous initiatives, one aspect of which is the amendment to the Animal Welfare Act that entered into force in July 2013.

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Antibiotics in agriculture

Floor keeping of laying hens

Antibiotics are the most important instrument for the treatment of infectious diseases. However, Germany is also seeing an increase in cases of antimicrobial resistance. Due to this, drugs may no longer be effective in diseased people or animals. As each use of antibiotics can produce resistance it must be ensured that antibiotics are only used when it is absolutely necessary, especially in animals used to produce food.

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