Animal Welfare in Norway

Publisert 03.03.2005

Here we have gathered information and links in English about farm animals, fish farming, marine mammals, wild animals and animal experiments in Norway. We also include important legislation and information about authorities and organisations.

Jakt i Norge har en rekke utfordringer innen dyrevelferd og dyreetikk. Skadeskyting og troféjakt er eksempler på dette.

Here we have gathered information and links in English about farm animals, fish farming, marine mammals, wild animals and animal experiments in Norway. We also include important legislation and information about authorities and organisations.

Other animal welfare and animal rights organizations

Norwegian Society for Animal Protection was founded in 1859 and is an umbrella organization for 28 local groups all over Norway.

NOAH – for animal rights campaigns for the rights of animals in a society where they are by law, defined as things.

Authorities

Norwegian Council on Animal Ethics is set down by the government to give independent advice on ethics in any matter concerning animals. The council has given written advice on a number of topics, e.g. fish farming, farm animal breeding, homeless cats, fur farming, etc.

The Norwegian Scientific Committe for Food Safety is responsible for animal welfare as well as food. Subgroup no. 8 has produced several reports about the risk for animal suffering. Some of the reports are in English.

The Parliament imposes laws and may in some cases instruct the government to propose certain changes to laws, or to research areas of concern. Animal welfare (tame animals), fishing, seal hunting and whale hunting is handled by the Committee of Commerce (Norwegian only). Hunting and trapping (wild terrestrial animals) is handled by the Committee of Energy and Environment (Norwegian only).

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food is responsible for the Government´s animal welfare policy.

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority is subordinate to the Ministry of Agriculture. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority prepares proposals for laws and regulations about animal welfare, and administers the legislation in force. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has subordinate official region veterinary offices in all regions of Norway, and official veterinary inspectors in all counties of the country.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries is responsible for the Government´s policy in aquaculture, fishing, sealing and whaling.

The Directorate of Fisheries is subordinate to the Ministry of Fisheries. The Directorate of Fisheries prepares proposals for laws and regulations about aquaculture, fishing and marine mammals, and administers the legislation in force.

The Ministry of Climate and Environment is responsible for the Government´s policy on wildlife, hunting and trapping of terrestrial animals, including all wild bird species.

The Directorate for Nature Management is subordinate to the Ministry of Environment. The Directorate for Nature Management prepares proposals for laws and regulations about hunting, trapping and angling, and administers the legislation in force.

Main legislation

The Animal Welfare Act gives general rules about treatment of animals, and imposes duties of inspection and decision on the authorities. The Animal Welfare Act also warrants punishment and the loss of right to keep or handle animals. The Animal Welfare Act was adopted in 2009 and represents a modernization of the previous animal welfare act from 1974. The guidelines are important when the Act is interpreted, and give examples and explanations.

The Wildlife Act and the Biodiversity Act give general rules about hunting and trapping.

Parliamentary report on animal welfare

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food produced the equivalnt of a White Paper on all aspects of animal husbandry and animal welfare in 2003. The report gives a good introduction to most animal issues in Norway. The Parliamentary Report nr. 12 regarding animal husbandry and animal welfare is available in english.

Animal experimentation

Animal experimentation in Norway is subject to detailed regulation by the Regulation on Animal Experimentation.

The Norwegian Animal Research Authority is responsible the animal welfare aspects of animal experimentation in Norway. The board handles applications, inspects animal experimentation facilities, reviews conducted animal experiments and decides general policy for permission of animal experiments. Researchers use a standard application form for animal experimentation. Researchers carrying out animal experiments in Norway are required to participate in compulsory training.

NORINA is an international database that provides alternatives to animals in education. The Norwegian database TEXTBASE presents literature in the same field. Both databases can be found on Norecopas web pages.

Norecopa is a member of the international ecopa, and works to promote Replacement, Reduction and Refinement in Norway.

The Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board is set down by the government to give independent advice on ethical and social matters emerging from the development in biotechnology.

Fur farming

The Norwegian Fur Breeder´s Association organizes the approx. 600 fur farmers in the country. Norwegian farmers produce mainly fox and mink pelts. Saga Furs of Scandinavia does the international marketing of all Scandinavian fur. Oslo Fur Auctions is a main participant in the Norwegian fur trade.

Farm animals

Norway produces eggs, chicken and turkey for own consumption. Usual high intensive breeds are used. Battery hens is the usual production system in egg production. The Centre for Poultry Science aims at serving the poultry industry.

Norwegain Farmer´s union for small scale farms is a part of Via Campesina.

Geno is the Norwegian association for breeding and keeping of cattle. Geno´s cow breed, NRF, is genetically composed to serve a combined dairy and meat production.

Norsvin is the Norwegian association for breeding and keeping of pigs.

Animalia, also known as the Norwegian Meat Research Centre, is the research and knowledge centre of the Norwegian meat industry.

Statistics Norway provides plenty of statistics on animal husbandry in Norway.

Pet animals

The Norwegian Kennel Club organizes the breeding of Norwegian pedigree dogs. It is prohibited to keep, breed or import dogs considered "dangerous" by the Norwegian authorities. Dogs of the following breeds/crossbreeds with the following breeds are considered to be "dangerous" in Norway: Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Fila Brasileiro, Toso Inu, Dogo Argentino.

Norges Huskattforening (Norwegian only) works to improve the status and welfare of both owned and stray cats.

The keeping of certain reptiles and amphibians as pets was made legal in Norway in 2017.

Fish farming, fishing and marine mammals

Norway hunts both seal and whale. The Ministry of Fisheries provides information about marine mammals. In March 2009 the Norwegian government presented a Report to the Storting on whaling and sealing (White paper to the Norwegian parliament) explaining Norway’s policy on marine mammals.

Farmed fish is Norway´s second biggest export product. Salmon is the most usual fish bred in captivity. Norwegian Seafood Federation publish facts and figures about fish farming. Nofima provides reports and news about fish research. Institute of Marine Research presents research results and future plans. Norwegian Council on Animal Ethics has given advice on catch and release fishing. The Collaboration Group for Aqua Medicine also has some information in English.

Statistics Norway provides plenty of statistics on fish farming and fisheries in Norway.

Wildlife

Angling and hunting is popular in Norway. This includes small game hunting, big game hunting, as well as freshwater and seawater angling.

Statistics Norway provides plenty of statistics on hunting in Norway. Leghold trapping is illegal in Norway.

Animal science and education

The Norwegian School of Veterinary Science educates all Norwegian vets and animal nurses.

The Norwegian University of Life Sciences teaches intensive fish farming, biotechnology and farming including farm animal behaviour.

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