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Parliamentary questions
PDF 190kWORD 23k
16 March 2016
Question for written answer E-002250-16
to the Commission
Rule 130
Stelios Kouloglou (GUE/NGL) , Stefan Eck (GUE/NGL) , Lola Sánchez Caldentey (GUE/NGL) , Patricija Šulin (PPE)

 Subject:  Welfare of dairy cows
 Answer in writing 

A Scientific Report and Opinions produced in 2009 by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) indicate that EU dairy cows suffer from a number of serious welfare and health problems. These include lameness, mastitis, injuries, sores and swellings, dirty cubicles and passages, cubicles that are too short or narrow, lack of bedding and hard uncomfortable floors. In certain Member States many cows are tethered, sometimes for 24 hours a day all year round. An increasing number of cows are ‘zero-grazed’ i.e. kept indoors all year round without access to pasture; EFSA concluded that if cows are not kept on pasture for parts of the year there is an increased risk of a number of health problems.

The OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) adopted international standards on the welfare of dairy cows in May 2015. What steps is the Commission taking to encourage the Member States and the dairy sector to implement the OIE standards?

Does the Commission accept that respect for the OIE standards is required by the duty stated in Article 3 of Directive 98/58 for owners and keepers to ‘take all reasonable steps to ensure the welfare of animals under their care’?

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