EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Document 01998L0058-20191214

Consolidated text: Council Directive 98/58/EC of 20 July 1998 concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes


01998L0058 — EN — 14.12.2019 — 002.001

This text is meant purely as a documentation tool and has no legal effect. The Union's institutions do not assume any liability for its contents. The authentic versions of the relevant acts, including their preambles, are those published in the Official Journal of the European Union and available in EUR-Lex. Those official texts are directly accessible through the links embedded in this document



of 20 July 1998

concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes

(OJ L 221 8.8.1998, p. 23)

Amended by:



Official Journal





COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) No 806/2003 of 14 April 2003

  L 122





  L 95



Corrected by:


Corrigendum, OJ L 137, 24.5.2017, p.  40 (2017/625)



of 20 July 1998

concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes

Article 1

This Directive lays down minimum standards for the protection of animals bred or kept for farming purposes.

It shall not apply to:


animals living in the wild;


animals intended for use in competitions, shows, cultural or sporting events or activities;


experimental or laboratory animals;


any invertebrate animal.

This Directive shall apply without prejudice to specific Community rules laid down elsewhere, and in particular to Directives 88/166/EEC ( 1 ), 91/629/EEC ( 2 ) and 91/630/EEC ( 3 ), which shall continue to apply.

Article 2

For the purposes of this Directive the following definitions shall apply:


‘animal’: any animal (including fish, reptiles or amphibians) bred or kept for the production of food, wool, skin or fur or for other farming purposes;


‘owner’ or ‘keeper’: any natural or legal person or persons responsible for or in charge of animals whether on a permanent or temporary basis;



‘competent authorities’ means competent authorities as defined in Article 3(3) of Regulation ►C1  (EU) 2017/625 ◄ of the European Parliament and of the Council ( 4 )


Article 3

Member States shall make provision to ensure that the owners or keepers take all reasonable steps to ensure the welfare of animals under their care and to ensure that those animals are not caused any unnecessary pain, suffering or injury.

Article 4

Members States shall ensure that the conditions under which animals (other than fish, reptiles or amphibians) are bred or kept, having regard to their species and to their degree of development, adaptation and domestication, and to their physiological and ethological needs in accordance with established experience and scientific knowledge, comply with the provisions set out in the Annex.

Article 5

The Commission shall submit to the Council any proposals which may be necessary for the uniform application of the European Convention for the Protection of Animals Kept for Farming Purposes and, on the basis of a scientific evaluation, any recommendations made under this Convention and any other appropriate specific rules.
In addition, every five years and for the first time five years after the date of entry into force of this Directive, the Commission, on the basis of experience acquired since the implementation of this Directive, in particular concerning the measures referred to in paragraph 1 and technical and scientific developments, shall submit to the Council a report, accompanied by any appropriate proposals taking into account the report's conclusions.
The Council shall act by qualified majority on these proposals.

Article 6

▼M2 —————


Member States shall submit to the Commission by 31 August each year an annual report for the previous year on the inspections carried out by the competent authority to check compliance with the requirements of this Directive. The report shall be accompanied by an analysis of the most serious findings of non–compliance and a national action plan to prevent or decrease their occurrence for the forthcoming years. The Commission shall submit summaries of those reports to the Member States.



The Commission shall before 1 July 1999, in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 9 submit proposals with a view to harmonising:

▼M2 —————



the format, content and frequency of submission of the reports referred to in paragraph 2.

▼M2 —————


Article 8


Before 30 June 1999 the Commission shall submit to the Council a report on:

the comparison between animal welfare provisions in the Community and in non-member countries which supply the Community,
the scope for obtaining wider international acceptance of the welfare principles laid down in this Directive, and
the extent to which Community objectives in relation to animal welfare may be liable to be undermined as a result of competition from non-member countries which do not apply equivalent standards.
The report referred to in paragraph 1 shall be accompanied by any necessary proposals with the aim of eliminating distortions of competition.


Article 9

The Commission shall be assisted by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health set up pursuant to Article 58 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 ( 5 ).
Where reference is made to this Article, Articles 5 and 7 of Decision 1999/468/EC ( 6 ) shall apply.

The period laid down in Article 5(6) of Decision 1999/468/EC shall be set at three months.

The Committee shall adopt its Rules of Procedure.


Article 10

Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions, including any sanctions, necessary to comply with this Directive not later than 31 December 1999, subject to any different decision taken by the Council in the light of the report referred to in Article 8. They shall forthwith inform the Commission thereof.

When Member States adopt these measures, they shall contain a reference to this Directive or shall be accompanied by such reference on the occasion of their official publication. The methods of making such reference shall be laid down by Member States.

However, after 31 December 1999, Member States may, in compliance with the general rules of the Treaty, maintain or apply within their territories stricter provisions for the protection of animals kept for farming purposes than those laid down in this Directive. They shall inform the Commission of any such measures.
Member States shall communicate to the Commission the texts of the main provisions of national law which they adopt in the field governed by this Directive.

Article 11

This Directive shall enter into force on the day of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Communities.

Article 12

This Directive is addressed to the Member States.




Animals shall be cared for by a sufficient number of staff who possess the appropriate ability, knowledge and professional competence.



All animals kept in husbandry systems in which their welfare depends on frequent human attention shall be inspected at least once a day. Animals in other systems shall be inspected at intervals sufficient to avoid any suffering.


Adequate lighting (fixed or portable) shall be available to enable the animals to be thoroughly inspected at any time.


Any animal which appears to be ill or injured must be cared for appropriately without delay and, where an animal does not respond to such care, veterinary advice must be obtained as soon as possible. Where necessary sick or injured animals shall be isolated in suitable accomodation with, where appropriate, dry comfortable bedding.

Record keeping


The owner or keeper of the animals shall maintain a record of any medicinal treatment given and of the number of mortalities found to each inspection.

Where equivalent information is required to be kept for other purposes, this shall also suffice for the purposes of this Directive.


These records shall be retained for a period of at least three years and shall be made available to the competent authority when carrying out an inspection or when otherwise requested.

Freedom of movement


The freedom of movement of an animal, having regard to its species and in accordance with established experience and scientific knowledge, must not be restricted in such a way as to cause it unnecessary suffering or injury.

Where an animal is continuously or regularly tethered or confined, it must be given the space appropriate to its physiological and ethological needs in accordance with established experience and scientific knowledge.

Buildings and accommodation


Materials to be used for the construction of accommodation, and in particular for the construction of pens an equipment with which the animals may come into contact, must not be harmful to the animals and must be capable of being throughly cleaned and disinfected.


Accommodation and fittings for securing animals shall be constructed and maintained so that there are no sharp edges or protrusions likely to cause injury to the animals.


Air circulation, dust levels, temperature, relative air humidity and gas concentrations must be kept within limits which are not harmful to the animals.


Animals kept in buildings must not be kept either in permanent darkness or without an appropriate period of rest from artificial lighting. Where the natural light available is insufficient to meet the physiological and ethological needs of the animals, appropriate artificial lighting must be provided.

Animals not kept in buildings


Animals not kept in buildings shall where necessary and possible be given protection from adverse weather conditions, predators and risks to their health.

Automatic or mechanical equipment


All automated or mechanical equipment essential for the health and well-being of the animals must be inspected at least once daily. Where defects are discovered, these must be rectified immediately, or if this is impossible, appropriate steps must be taken to safeguard the health and well-being of the animals.

Where the health and well-being of the animals is dependent on an artificial ventilation system, provision must be made for an appropriate backup system to guarantee sufficient air renewal to preserve the health and well-being of the animals in the event of failure of the system, and an alarm system must be provided to give warning of breakdown. The alarm system must be tested regularly.

Feed, water and other substances


Animals must be fed a wholesome diet which is appropriate to their age and species and which is fed to them in sufficient quantity to maintain them in good health and satisfy their nutritional needs. No animal shall be provided with food or liquid in a manner, nor shall such food or liquid contain any substance, which may cause unnecessary suffering or injury.


All animals must have access to feed at intervals appropriate to their physiological needs.


All animals must have access to a suitable water supply or be able to satisfy their fluid intake needs by other means.


Feeding and watering equipment must be designed, constructed and placed so that contamination of food and water and the harmful effects of competition between the animals are minimised.


No other substance, with the exception of those given for therapeutic, or prophylactic purposes or for the purposes of zootechnical treatment as defined in Article 1(2)(c) of Directive 96/22/EEC ( 7 ), must be administered to an animal unless it has been demonstrated by scientific studies of animal welfare or established experience that the effect of that substance is not detrimental to the health or welfare of the animal.



Pending the adoption of specific provisions concerning mutilations in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 5, and without prejudice to Directive 91/630/EEC, relevant national provisions shall apply in accordance with the general rules of the Treaty.

Breeding procedures


Natural or artificial breeding or breeding procedures which case or are likely to cause suffering or injury to any of the animals concerned must not be practised.

This provision shall not preclude the use of certain procedures likely to cause minimal or momentary suffering or injury, or which might necessitate interventions which would not cause lasting injury, where these are allowed by national provisions.


No animal shall be kept for farming purposes unless it can reasonably be expected, on the basis of its genotype or phenotype, that it can be kept without detrimental effect on its health or welfare.

( 1 ) Council Directive 88/166/EEC of 7 March 1998 complying with the judgment of the Court of Justice in Case 131-86, (annulment of Council Directive 86/113/EEC of 25 March 1986 laying down minimum standards for the protection of laying hens kept in battery cages) (OJ L 74 19.3.1988, p. 83).

( 2 ) Council Directive 91/629/EEC of 19 November 1991 laying down minimum standards for the protection of calves (OJ L 340, 11.12.1991, p. 28). Directive as last amended by Directive 97/2/EC (OJ L 25, 28.1.1997, p. 24).

( 3 ) Council Directive 91/630/EEC of 19 November 1991 laying down minimum standards for the protection of pigs (OJ L 340, 11.12.1991, p. 33).

( 4 ) Regulation ►C1  (EU) 2017/625 ◄ of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2017 on official controls and other official activities performed to ensure the application of food and feed law, rules on animal health and welfare, plant health and plant protection products, amending Regulations (EC) No 999/2001, (EC) No 396/2005, (EC) No 1069/2009, (EC) No 1107/2009, (EU) No 1151/2012, (EU) No 652/2014, (EU) 2016/429 and (EU) 2016/2031 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Regulations (EC) No 1/2005 and (EC) No 1099/2009 and Council Directives 98/58/EC, 1999/74/EC, 2007/43/EC, 2008/119/EC and 2008/120/EC, and repealing Regulations (EC) No 854/2004 and (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Directives 89/608/EEC, 89/662/EEC, 90/425/EEC, 91/496/EEC, 96/23/EC, 96/93/EC and 97/78/EC and Council Decision 92/438/EEC (Official Controls Regulation) ( ►C1   OJ L 95, 7.4.2017, p. 1  ◄ ).

( 5 )  OJ L 31, 1.2.2002, p. 1.

( 6 )  OJ L 184, 17.7.1999, p. 23.

( 7 ) Council Directive 96/22/EC of 29 April 1996 concerning the prohibition on the use in stockfarming of certain substances having a hormonal or thyrostatic action and of beta-agonists (OJ L 125, 23.5.1996, p. 3).