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Food-Producing Animals

Animal Welfare

Animal health is a pre-condition for animal welfare. The animal health industry provides a broad variety of medicines and vaccines that support animal welfare. Additionally, our industry strives to research and develop innovative products that will ensure healthy, well-nourished, animals living free of pain, suffering, or distress. 

Working with a wide range of stakeholders including veterinarians and farmers, we promote high quality controls for animal welfare through responsible and proper use of animal health products. 

Animal Welfare in the EU

Animals are sensitive beings capable of feeling pain, stress, discomfort and hunger and people care about how farm animals as well as pets are treated. Animal health is a pre-condition for animal welfare and the animal health industry provides a broad variety of medicines and vaccines to support animal welfare.

See our FACT SHEET on SUSTAINING ANIMAL WELFARE for more information on the role of the veterinary medicines sector.

EU law on animal welfare states that one aspect of welfare is 'freedom from pain, injury and disease'. Through disease reduction, decreased suffering and enhanced productivity the animal health industry contributes to enhanced animal welfare.

Animal welfare is an important aspect of EU policy. Key EU legal instruments referring to animal welfare include:

  • The European Union Treaty of Lisbon, which entered into force on 1 December 2023 and includes animal welfare as one of the principles the Union should respect. Article 23 states: "...…since animals are sentient beings, pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals, while respecting the legislative or administrative provisions and customs of the Member States relating in particular to religious rites, cultural traditions and regional heritage."  
  • The European Union Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012-2015 launched in 2012 which examines more closely animal welfare issues in Europe  and outlines different aspects of the welfare of farmed animals including transport and slaughter as well as requirements on the keeping of calves, pigs, laying hens and broilers.