Animal welfare

Animal welfare is enshrined as a State goal in the German constitution (German Basic Law) and regulated in the Animal Welfare Act. Under the latter, animal keepers are obliged to comply with the applicable regulations in order to promote the welfare of their animals.

Animal welfare is an important issue for the BMEL. The ministry works on developing the existing regulations to support animal welfare. Other examples of ways in which the BMEL promotes animal welfare include providing support for research projects, investments in livestock husbandry systems that conform to animal welfare principles, and the development of alternatives to animal testing. The ministry also supports and promotes better animal welfare standards - including for animal transportation - at EU and international level.

A close-up shot of a chicken head
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Overview of topics

State Animal Welfare Label for Pigs: Cabinet Agrees on Animal Welfare Labelling Act

The Federal Cabinet has agreed on the draft legislation for the introduction and use of an animal welfare label. In February 2019, Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner presented the criteria for the planned state animal welfare label for pigs. The criteria of all three levels of the label exceed the statutory minimum standard.

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Current challenges in pig farming

According to the results of the 2016 agricultural structures survey, there are 40,000 holdings keeping pigs. The majority of them are family-owned businesses. About 35 percent of them keep fewer than 50 animals. Currently, pig keepers are confronted with many challenges.

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Debate on piglet castration

In Germany there are about 40,000 farms that keep pigs. The majority of them are family-owned businesses. About 35 percent of them keep fewer than 50 animals. The majority of piglets in Germany are surgically castrated. The reason for this is that the meat of male pigs can develop a very unpleasant smell and is considered hard or impossible to sell.

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Alternatives to the culling of male chicks

Every year in Germany alone, about 45 million chicks are culled shortly after hatching. These are the brothers of the modern laying hens. These laying hens produce our eggs for consumption.

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Recommendations

Live­stock trans­ports to third coun­tries (topic:livestock-trade-transport)

Transporting animals, notably over long distances, can place a great strain on the animals. Such transports should therefore be avoided as far as possible on animal welfare grounds.This applies, in particular, to the transport of slaughter animals over long distances which should, if possible, be replaced by meat transports.

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De­bate on piglet cas­tra­tion (topic:livestock-breeding)

In Germany there are about 40,000 farms that keep pigs. The majority of them are family-owned businesses. About 35 percent of them keep fewer than 50 animals. The majority of piglets in Germany are surgically castrated. The reason for this is that the meat of male pigs can develop a very unpleasant smell and is considered hard or impossible to sell.

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Cur­rent chal­lenges in pig farm­ing (topic:livestock-breeding)

According to the results of the 2016 agricultural structures survey, there are 40,000 holdings keeping pigs. The majority of them are family-owned businesses. About 35 percent of them keep fewer than 50 animals. Currently, pig keepers are confronted with many challenges.

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Agri-en­vi­ron­ment-cli­mate mea­sures (AECMs), or­gan­ic farm­ing and an­i­mal wel­fare mea­sures (topic:eu-agricultural-policy)

Agri-environment-climate measures (AECMs), organic farming and animal welfare measures are essential instruments for achieving environmental objectives under the Common European Agricultural Policy. The European Union’s legal framework requires at least 30 percent of funding to be in rural development programmes according to Article 59(6) of the EU Regulation on support for rural development (EAFRD).

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Al­ter­na­tives to the culling of male chicks (topic:livestock-breeding)

Every year in Germany alone, about 45 million chicks are culled shortly after hatching. These are the brothers of the modern laying hens. These laying hens produce our eggs for consumption.

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Ques­tions and an­swers on the sub­ject of lay­ing hen hus­bandry in Ger­many (topic:livestock-breeding)

Judicial authorities are currently investigating farm operators suspected of violating regulations on egg production

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State An­i­mal Wel­fare La­bel for Pigs: Cab­i­net Agrees on An­i­mal Wel­fare La­belling Act (topic:animal-welfare-label)

The Federal Cabinet has agreed on the draft legislation for the introduction and use of an animal welfare label. In February 2019, Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner presented the criteria for the planned state animal welfare label for pigs. The criteria of all three levels of the label exceed the statutory minimum standard.

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Cos­met­ic prod­ucts – EU reg­u­la­tion en­hances prod­uct safe­ty (topic:cosmetics)

Only safe cosmetic products may be placed on the EU market. The EU Cosmetics Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 lays down relevant provisions to ensure a high level of health protection with regard to cosmetic products. These rules are constantly being adapted to reflect the latest progress made in the technical and scientific sector.

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Whale con­ser­va­tion (topic:livestock-breeding)

The Federal Government of Germany is resolutely opposed to commercial whaling. This also applies to scientific whaling.

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Im­por­ta­tion of prod­ucts of an­i­mal ori­gin for per­son­al con­sump­tion (topic:livestock-breeding)

In order to prevent the introduction of animal epidemics, it is prohibited to bring meat, milk and products derived therefrom into the European Union from non-EU countries.

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