Commission flyer on animal welfare and the terms it uses


Key Words :art 13 , all animals are sentient beings

3 October 2013         

Jörg Leichtfried (S&D


A Commission flyer on topical issues relating to animal welfare(1) states: ‘(…) The EU Lisbon Treaty recognised animals as “sentient beings” and as a result the welfare of farm animals became valued in the European Union. (…)’

However, Article 13 of the Treaty (TFEU) defines all animals as sentient beings, not just farm animals, as this is not a legal concept, but an ethical one.

Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes(2) even states in the preamble that animal welfare is a value of the Union that is enshrined in Article 13 TFEU. This also indicates that Article 13 is not just limited to farm animals, but includes all animals.

Can the Commission explain its reasons and the legal basis for restricting the scope of Article 13 to farm animals, as it has done in the aforementioned flyer?


(1) Milestones in improving Animal Welfare, EU Commission
(2) Directive 2010/63/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2010 on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, Recital 2.


21 November 2013

Answer given by Mr Borg on behalf of the Commission

It is correct that Article 13 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union(1) concerns all animals and not only those that are farmed. In the EU Animal Welfare Strategy 2012-2015(2), possible measures in relation to wild animals and pets will be considered. It is not the Commission's intention to restrict the scope of Article 13 but rather to highlight the efforts that have been made to improve the welfare of both farmed animals and those used for scientific purposes(3) while listing some of the most recent achievements in this area.

(1) OJ C 326, 26.10.2012.
(3) See paragraph on the ban on animal testing for cosmetics in the same document.