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Protection of calves



To lay down minimum standards for the protection of calves in order to protect them and to prevent differences distorting competition among producers in the different Member States.

2) ACT

Council Directive 91/629/EEC of 19 November 1991 laying down minimum standards for the protection of calves [Official Journal L 340 of 11.12.1991].

Amended by:

Council Directive 97/2/EC of 20 January 1997 [Official Journal L 25 of 28.01.1997];
Commission Decision 97/182/EC of 24 February 1997 [Official Journal L 76 of 18.03.1997];
Council Regulation (EC) No 806/2003 of 14 April 2003 [Official Journal L 122 of 16.05.2003].


This Directive lays down minimum standards for the protection of calves confined for rearing and fattening. 'Calf'' means any bovine animal aged less than six months.

From 1 January 1998 , on newly built or rebuilt holdings and/or those brought into use for the first time must meet the following requirements :

  • no calf may be confined in an individual pen after the age of eight weeks unless a veterinarian certifies that its health or behaviour requires it to be isolated in order to receive treatment ;
  • for calves kept in groups, the unobstructed space allowance available for each calf must be at least equal to 1.5 m² for each calf with a live weight of more than 220 kilograms.
    These provisions do not apply to holdings with less than six calves or calves kept with their mother for suckling.

The above provisions will apply to all holdings from 2006.

The Commission and the Member States will verify on the spot that the Directives are being applied. Commission experts, in cooperation with the competent authority, may carry out on-the-spot checks. The competent authority will take all necessary measures in the light of the results obtained.

The Commission will present to the Council no later than 1 January 2006 a report on intensive farming systems which comply with the requirements for the welfare of calves together with proposals relevant to the report's conclusions.

To import animals from a non-member country, a certificate attesting to the fact that they have received treatment equivalent to that provided for in these Directives will be needed.

The Member States will bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions, including any sanctions, necessary to comply with the Directive. They may maintain or apply stricter measures and must inform the Commission of any such measures.

of entry into force
Final date for implementation in the Member States
Directive 91/629/EEC31.12.199131.12.1993
Decision 97/182/EC01.01.1998-
Directive 97/2/EC17.02.199731.12.1997
Regulation (EC) No 806/200305.06.2003-



On 15 December 1995, the Commission presented a communication based on the report prepared by the Scientific Veterinary Committee, in accordance with Article 6 of Directive 91/629/EEC on intensive farming systems which comply with the requirements for the welfare of calves [COM(95) 711 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

Last updated: 05.04.2006
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