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Commentary

Protection of Dairy Cattle in the EU: State of Play and Directions for Policymaking from a Legal and Animal Advocacy Perspective

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Eurogroup for Animals, rue Ducale 29, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
2
Compassion in World Farming, River Court, Mill Lane, Godalming GU7 1EZ, UK
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1066; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121066
Received: 24 October 2019 / Revised: 15 November 2019 / Accepted: 18 November 2019 / Published: 2 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Welfare)
This paper presents the regulatory instruments applicable to the protection of dairy cattle in the EU and summarizes the available evidence, pointing to some serious shortcomings in enforcing the law. Corrective measures are proposed from a legal and animal advocacy perspective, with additional considerations on best practice and directions for future developments in legislation and good practice.
With the exception of a detailed Directive for calves, the welfare of dairy cattle is not regulated by species-specific legislation in the European Union. Their basic protection falls under the provisions of Directive 98/58/EC, also known as the “General Farm Animals Directive”. Article 3 of this Directive states: “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”. However, recent reports show that the welfare of dairy cows in the EU is not sufficiently monitored and that serious problems persist. Lameness, mastitis, cubicle design, flooring, cleanliness, and permanent tethering remain critical areas. We argue that, to demonstrate compliance with Article 3 of Directive 98/58, farmers and Member States should urgently address these issues. The increasing proportion of cows that are never allowed to graze and high milk yields are also reasons for concern and will need to be addressed as a matter of priority in future EU guides to good practice and, eventually, legislation. View Full-Text
Keywords: dairy cows; animal welfare; policy; European Union; legislation; good practice; rural development; lameness; mastitis; antimicrobial use dairy cows; animal welfare; policy; European Union; legislation; good practice; rural development; lameness; mastitis; antimicrobial use
MDPI and ACS Style

Nalon, E.; Stevenson, P. Protection of Dairy Cattle in the EU: State of Play and Directions for Policymaking from a Legal and Animal Advocacy Perspective. Animals 2019, 9, 1066. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121066

AMA Style

Nalon E, Stevenson P. Protection of Dairy Cattle in the EU: State of Play and Directions for Policymaking from a Legal and Animal Advocacy Perspective. Animals. 2019; 9(12):1066. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121066

Chicago/Turabian Style

Nalon, Elena, and Peter Stevenson. 2019. "Protection of Dairy Cattle in the EU: State of Play and Directions for Policymaking from a Legal and Animal Advocacy Perspective" Animals 9, no. 12: 1066. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121066

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