Ban on routine preventive antibiotic use
Antibiotics are regularly given to animals confined in intensive farms, due to the higher risk of disease when large numbers of animals are kept in inhumane, overcrowded conditions. There is strong evidence that the overuse of antibiotics in intensive farming is contributing to antibiotic resistance in humans. Thanks to the advocacy of Compassion in World Farming and its coalition partners, in 2018 the EU adopted a ban of routine preventive use of antibiotics on farms, which takes effect in 2022.
Partial sow stall ban
During pregnancy sows are often confined to narrow, metal crates. The sows cannot even turn around and are forced to urinate and defecate at the same place where they resting. Unable to interact with other pigs, they often exhibit abnormal behaviour and are prone to diseases. Following intense campaigning by Compassion in World Farming, these stalls are prohibited since 2013 across the EU after the first four weeks of pregnancy.
Ban on Barren Battery Cages for Hens
In barren cages, hens were cramped together, each hen having less space than the size of an A4 sheet of paper. The cages usually have a sloping wire mesh floor without any opportunity for hens to follow their natural behaviours like dustbathing and perching. In 1999, against all the odds, the EU agreed to ban barren battery cages for laying hens from 2012. This is often referred to as the single biggest victory for animal welfare in recent history.
Partial Ban on Veal Crates
Veal is the meat from calves, often young male dairy calves. Around six million calves are reared for veal within the EU every year. Calves who are reared for white veal met suffer under cruel living conditions. Their crates are too narrow for them to turn around and many are tied by the neck. They are deprived of any social interaction and exercise, and are forced to spend their whole life indoors. Thanks to Compassion in World Farming’s advocacy work, narrow veal crates have been banned in the EU since 2007.
End to Live Animal Exports Subsidies
Animals exported to non-EU countries often suffer greatly under inhumane conditions during transport and from cruel treatment in their destination countries where EU animal welfare rules do not apply. In the past, the EU gave financial support to this cruel practice. In 2005, export subsidies for farmers transporting live cattle to countries outside the EU were eliminated. Compassion in World Farming continues to fight for an end to all live exports from the EU, as well as an 8-hour limit to journeys within EU borders.
EU recognised animals as sentient beings
In 1997, the EU legally recognised animals as sentient beings, capable of feeling pain and discomfort, following a ten-year campaign by Compassion in World Farming. The new Lisbon Treaty, in force from December 2009, incorporated the recognition of animal sentience under Article 13. This underpins and paves the way for all future improvements to farm animal welfare in Europe.