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.