Government report on animal welfare

Publisert 03.07.2003

Parliamentary Report (Stortingsmelding) nr. 12 is a report from the Norwegian Government to the Norwegian Parliament, which proposes Norway´s official policy on animal husbandry and animal welfare for the next 10-20 years.

Fjørfe broiler hode

Parliamentary Report (Stortingsmelding) nr. 12 is a report from the Norwegian Government to the Norwegian Parliament, which proposes Norway´s official policy on animal husbandry and animal welfare for the next 10-20 years.


The Norwegian Parliament has assessed many specific animal issues described in the report. In several areas the Norwegian Parliament have made additional recommendations, which the Norwegian Government is now committed to follow up. However, in several areas of concern the Norwegian Parliament has expressed itself so vaguely that the Government has been given wide margins. Here is a summary of what the Norwegian Parliament has decided:

Ethical Platform

- It has been ascertained that animals have instrinsic value, as "sentient beings".
- A general requirement is that animals environment shall give them a good quality of life.

The animal welfare law

- The animal welfare law will be thoroughly revised.
- The legal status of animals will be specified.

Demand for knowledge

- Requirements for knowledge will be drawn up for owners of farm animals in agriculture.
- Requirements will be drawn up for owners of pets (according to the pets physical and behavioural needs).

Fur animals

- Breeding of tamer animals, without defects.
- A revision of the husbandry system, possibly requirement for slightly bigger cages.
- Trial period of 10 years: If animal welfare is not improved in 10 years, a ban will be considered.


- A ban on building new buildings with cubicle stalls for cows from 2004. Free-range grazing for all cattle will be introduced within a 20 year period with the possibility of flexible interim solutions.
- All milking cows shall have access to space to recline with a soft base (mattress) from 2005.
- The requirements will not apply to free-range grazing oxen.
- Requirement for outdoors possibilities 8 weeks a year for all cattle within 10 years. The requirements will not apply to uncastrated oxen over 6 months of age.


- Free-range systems for all pigs, including sow in connection with farrowing, within 10 years.

Sheep and goats

- Regulations on keeping sheep in sheds and grazing will be drawn up within the summer of 2004.

Domestic Reindeer

- Ensure a balance between population of animals and the pasture resources, and sufficient acreage for traditional herding.
- Reduction in losses due to pasture collapses and reduced predator losses will be secured by going through existing regulations, and increased competence in crisis feeding.


- The Government shall consider the introduction of free-range systems for all laying hens in the short term. Free-range systems for laying hens will nevertheless be a fundamental goal in the long term.

Chicken and turkey

- Requirement for larger space.

Fish farming

- The industry is urged to draw up its own guidelines in association with the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Fisheries.
- Aim at research to develop good welfare indicators for breeding fish as well as better stunning during slaughter.


- A review of the regulations which regulate handling of slaughter animals, with focus on animal welfare, as well as securing a nation-wide emergency slaughter arrangement.


- A discussion of the regulations which regulate the transportation of animals, especially considering preparations for transportation, transportation time and the possibility for the use of resting points.


- Requirements to install fire alarm systems in large buildings holding animals within 5 years.

Laboratory animals

- The establishment of a national platform for alternatives to replace animals in research.
- The establishment of a fond for alternatives to animal research.
- The Government will consider reviewing the regulations on animal experiments .


- Special dog housing will be regulated, for example keeping of sleigh dogs or other large scale dog-keeping.


- Requirements to ID-mark all cats will be introduced.
- Efforts shall be implemented to reduce the number of stray cats, for example the requirement to sterilise cats in cities where homeless cats are a problem.

Other family and hobby animals

- A positive list of accepted animals will be drawn up, and the intention will be liberalisation.
- Reptiles will still be forbidden as pets.


- A positive list of animals permitted in circuses will be drawn up.

Zoos and other exhibitions

- The keeping of animals in zoos and other forms of exhibition will be given detailed regulations.

Hunting and catching of wild animals, including marine mammals

- Approval of trapping methods and instruments based on principles in the animal welfare law.
- Strong restrictions/limitations on catch and release as a fishing method.
- Total ban on the use of barbed wire as fence material in fences for domestic/farm animal.

Animal welfare administration

- The national council on animal ethics will be maintained.
- More local administration offices than the 50-65 suggested by Government.
- The animal welfare committees (layman committees) will be maintained, with decision and control competence.

International work/obligations

- Norway shall be a driving force for animal welfare in WTO.

The Norwegian Animal Protection Alliance´s assessment

The Norwegian Animal Protection Alliance has worked intensely with the White Paper on animal rights during the last two years, and followed the process closely at all stages. We have given priority to thorough documentation, and have presented important documentation on areas of priority to the Parliament.

The Norwegian Animal Protection Alliance gave highest priority to the areas of fur animals, laboratory animals, laying hens and international work. In addition we worked on the subjects of fish farming, cattle, circus, slaughter, sheep, reptiles and catch-and-release fishing.

The Norwegian Animal Protection Alliance is deeply disappointed that the Norwegian Parliament did not ban fur farming or at least introduce the requirement of enclosures for foxes and bathing water for mink.

We are also disappointed that the Parliament expressed itself so vaguely on the issue of battery hens, which will give the Government the possibility to avoid a ban.

Concerning laboratory animals, fish farming and international obligations, we note a strengthening of the animal welfare position by Parliament, compared to the Government´s original plans. In the area of pets and exotic animals (including circuses and zoos) we see clear development towards improvements in animal welfare.

The Norwegian Animal Protection Alliance will continue the political work for animals and maintain focus on our areas of priority.

Further information
The Parliamentary Report nr. 12 regarding animal husbandry and animal welfare is available in English.
- The Government´s report is available in Norwegian.

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