Danish producers export meat and meat products to 140 countries around the world and observing high standards remains crucial to maintaining their market position. The achievement of high welfare standards is paramount throughout the whole production chain, on the farm, during transport and finally at the abattoir.

Danish animal welfare legislation and standards

Although Danish animal welfare legislation is linked to EU Directives, in many areas it exceeds these requirements. Some examples include the mandatory provision of showering systems for most categories of pigs and requirements for fixed or drained flooring rather than the more traditional type of fully slatted floor. In addition, there are specific requirements for hospital pens and vehicles for transporting pigs.

Animal welfare standards are based on a mix of statutory requirements and a number of independently monitored industry assurance schemes, which underpin high standards of animal husbandry in Denmark. New regulations and legislation are implemented rapidly at farm level due to the close partnership between public authorities and the industry, as well as an efficient information and advisory system.

Transportation of animals 

In Denmark, there are strict statutory requirements for the transport of animals, designed to ensure their comfort and protect them from injury and unnecessary suffering. Denmark has an exemplary record in continually improving transport standards, which have led to a position where pig mortality rates during transport are among the lowest in the world. Transport distances are also very short in Denmark. In fact, the journey time is less than three hours for 95% of all animals transported to Danish abattoirs.

There have been major improvements in the handling of animals during transportation from the farm to the abattoir, including improved loading facilities, ventilation on the lorries and use of non-slip flooring when transporting pigs or cattle. Veterinarians at the abattoir check that each transport vehicle is properly equipped.