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.

Overview of topics

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.


Farm animals

Animal breeding and animal husbandry are important mainstays of Germany's agricultural sector. The purpose of farm animal husbandry is first and foremost to produce food such as milk and meat, and to obtain animal products such as wool, hides or pelts. Targeted animal breeding helps to maintain both animal performance and animal health in the long term.


Pets and zoo animals

Pets are faithful companions to many people. However, they are not toys. Everybody who gets a pet needs to ask themselves whether they are really able to keep animals in a manner that is appropriate to the respective species.


Animal health

Healthy animals play an important role in the efficiency of the agricultural sector and the safety of foods. To maintain animals' health, they require good husbandry conditions, effective prevention against and combating ofanimal diseases and animal epidemics, suitable feed and effective authorised veterinary medicinal products.


Veterinary medicinal products

Veterinary medicinal products such as antibiotics are important for the treatment of sick animals. Their responsible use serves animal health and animal welfare. Before veterinary medicinal products can be used, they have to be tested for quality, effectiveness and safety.


Livestock trade and transport

Animals and products of animal origin are increasingly transported nationally and internationally. Transporting animals, notably over long distances, can place a great strain on the animals.



 Biodiversity: Protecting bees and insects (topic:species-diversity)

The biodiversity crisis, i.e. the rapid loss of natural and anthropogenic (agro-biodiversity) biological diversity is one of the major global crises of our time. Conserving and promoting biodiversity is key to sustainable and future-proof food production.