Animal welfare

The Nordic origin of our SPOOR hides means that the animals have enjoyed high animal welfare standards. All our supplier countries are part of the European Union (EU), and farmer in these countries are therefore subject to animal welfare legislation developed by the EU. The first rules protecting farm animals in the EU date back to the 1970s, thus the EU has advocated for and regulated farm animal welfare for more than 40 years. In other words, there is a strong tradition for protecting the welfare of cattle from farming to abbatoir in the EU.

A key milestone was the 1998 directive for the protection of farmed animals, which established general standards for the protection of all animals kept to produce food, wool, skin, fur or other farming purposes.

The EU continually works to improve the legislation on farm animal welfare, during transport and at slaughter. In line with the EU’s new Farm to Fork strategy for a mor sustainable agriculture, the European Commission is currently evaluating all its legislation on the welfare of farmed animals.

Some of the most important ways that EU’s legislation promotes good animal welfare are:

Freedom of movement:

  • From the age of eight weeks, calves must not be confined in individual pens. If calves are placed in individual pens before eight weeks of age, the pens must have perforated walls, allowing the calves to have direct visual and tactile contact.
  • Tethering, which refers to tying the animal to something to keep it in a particular area is allowed, however only if the animal has sufficient space to meet its physiological and ethological needs.

Freedom from discomfort:

  • When calves are less than two weeks old, they must be provided with appropriate bedding. Bedding promotes the overall health of the animal by encouraging rest, improving digestive health, insulating against cold weather and preventing body sores from lying on a hard surface.

Freedom from pain, fear and distress:

  • To diminish distress and discomfort, cattle may not be transported for more than eight hours unless the vehicle has been inspected and approved for long transport.
  • Antibiotic use for growth promotion is prohibited and the prophylactic use of antibiotics will be banned from 2022. This should encourage farmers in the EU to work to promote good animal health and increase the animals’ robustness to diminish the need for treatment.
  • Pre-slaughter stunning is required for all animals to spare them from any avoidable pain, distress or suffering at the end of their life. However, exceptions can be made for religious slaughter in Germany and the Netherlands.