Austria

A
Austria
Recognising animal protection

Recognising animal protection

This theme examines recognition of animal sentience and the importance of animal protection as a societal value within the country, including government support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare, prohibition of cruelty and protection for different categories of animals.

A

Formal recognition of animal sentience

There is legislation

Article 1 of the principal animal welfare legislation in Austria, the Austrian Animal Welfare Act 2004, states that the aim of the Act is the protection of the life and welfare of animals in light of the particular responsibility that mankind bears to animals as fellow creatures of mankind, suggesting some equivalence between humans and animals, and therefore implicitly recognising the concept of sentience.  Whilst the concept of sentience is not explicitly defined, the Animal Welfare Act 2004 does recognise physical and mental aspects of animal sentience by prohibiting the infliction of unjustified pain, suffering or injury to animals and exposure of animals to “heavy fear”. Additionally Article 13 requires animals to be kept in ways that correspond to their physiological and ethological needs, including satisfying the need for social contact. Article 13(1) also states that no animal may be kept unless it can be reasonably expected “on the basis of its genotype or phenotype, that it can be kept according to the state of the art of scientific knowledge without detrimental effect on its well-being”. The Act is applicable to animals of demonstrable sentience, namely vertebrates, cephalopods and decapods.

At European Union level, Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union recognises animal sentience and requires that Member States pay regard to animals’ welfare requirements in formulating and implementing European Union policies.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Upon its introduction, the Animal Welfare Act 2004 represented some of the world’s toughest animal protection legislation and was introduced with the unanimous support of the main political parties in Austria.[1] The government is committed to protecting animal welfare and dissemination of this aim through society is promoted by the fact that each state is required to appoint an animal welfare Ombudsman.[2] Three advisory animal welfare committees have been established and these submit proposals to the Federal Minister of Health regarding establishment of multi-year workplans for all aspects of animal welfare. The 2014 to 2018 plan is available on the website of the Ministry of Health and contains details of initiatives such as an Animal Welfare Prize and educational initiatives concerning raising awareness of animal welfare.[3]

 

[1] http://www.nbcnews.com/id/5077350/ns/health-pet_health/t/tough-animal-ri...

[2] http://www.bmg.gv.at/home/Schwerpunkte/Tiergesundheit/Tierschutz/

[3]http://bmg.gv.at/cms/home/attachments/5/0/4/CH1119/CMS1400057443519/arbe...

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There are not considered to be any significant barriers to improving animal welfare or to further clarification of animal sentience in policy and legislation.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are enforcement mechanisms for the legal protection that arises out of the recognition of sentience in the Animal Welfare Act 2004: fines and imprisonment (Article 38), prohibition on keeping animals (Article 39) and confiscation (Article 40).

D

Support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare

There is partial government support

The Austrian government has not pledged in principle support for the UDAW.

However at European Union level, the European Council unanimously approved a statement on the UDAW encouraging the European Commission to support and initiate further international initiatives to raise awareness and create a greater consensus on animal welfare, and inviting the Member States and the Commission to support the UDAW initiative.[1] While in government consultation the government advised that no Austrian Minister specifically responsible for animal welfare attended this meeting of the Council, there is no evidence that the government has denounced or retracted from the conclusions of the Council.

Note: The Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare is a proposed formal international acknowledgment of a set of principles giving animal welfare due recognition among governments and the international community. An expression of support for the UDAW demonstrates a government’s commitment to working with the international community to improve animal welfare.

 

[1] http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/en/agricult/106877.pdf

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

There are no developments explicitly related to the UDAW in the policy and legislation produced by the country.  UDAW can have a significant role in making the concept of animal welfare a mainstream concern of society, but there was no evidence found of the country’s development of legislation or policy relating to the UDAW. However, Austria has adopted comprehensive animal protection legislation and promoted animal welfare via committees and other mechanisms.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There are no apparent financial or other barriers to the government improving animal welfare through pledging in principle support of the UDAW and incorporating its principles into policy and legislation.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are no enforcement mechanisms relevant to this indicator.

A

Laws against causing animal suffering

There is legislation

Article 222 of the Penal Code creates an offence of cruelty to animals. It is prohibited to mistreat an animal or inflict unnecessary pain. “Animal” is not defined but Article 222(3) specifically prohibits wanton killing of vertebrates, suggesting that the general cruelty prohibition applies to any animal. In consultation, the government has confirmed that this is the case. As long as provincial laws on hunting and fishing are met, there is no contravention of Article 222 of the Penal Code. In case of infringements of laws relating to hunting or fishing, Article 222 of the Penal Code applies.

Article 5(1) of the Animal Welfare Act 2004 prohibits the infliction of unjustified pain, suffering or injury to an animal, or exposure of an animal to heavy fear.  This applies to all animals (Article 3(1)), but there is an exemption for hunting and fishing (Article 3(4)).

Article 5(2) gives particular examples of acts which amount to violations of 5(1), including negligence with regard to accommodation, feeding and care (Article 5(2)(13)). Failure to act is therefore included in the legislation.

Article 9 requires anyone who has clearly injured an animal or placed it in danger, so far as reasonable, to provide or obtain necessary assistance for the animal (this applies to vertebrates, cephalopods and decapods (Article 3(2)).

Article 13 creates a wider duty of care, requiring that anyone who keeps an animal must provide for its space, freedom of movement, accommodation, climate, care and nutrition, and possibility of social contact, taking into account the physiological and ethological needs of the animal.

The Animal Welfare Act 2004 forms the basis of animal welfare legislation in the nine individual states. The government advises that the federal government is responsible for legislation in the field of animal welfare, but the provinces are responsible for its enforcement. This issue is regulated in the Article 11 of the Federal Constitution. The provincial governments do not enact laws on animal welfare, they just enact laws on security in this field.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The legislation deals with animal welfare as an independent issue, and gives a detailed range of examples of prohibited acts of cruelty, deliberate or otherwise. The provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2004 are detailed and comprehensive. The main anti-cruelty provision covers all categories of animals, and reflects the norms articulated by the OIE Code Commission on animal welfare. 

District administrations have responsibility for implementation and enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act (Article 33(1)). They are required to take action against contravention of Articles 5 to 7 of the Act.

The legislative framework is effective for making this aspect of animal protection a mainstream concern of society.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

Chapter 3 of the Animal Welfare Act 2004 outlines a range of powers available to specific regulatory bodies in Austria to enforce the provisions of the Act.  There are no apparent barriers, financial or otherwise, to the improvement of animal welfare in Austria. The existing legislation exceeds the baseline requirements of European Union legislation and is detailed in its scope, with a definition of cruelty that encompasses conduct such as breeding animals where it is foreseeable that pain, suffering, injury or fear will result (Article 5(2)(1)).

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Breach of the anti-cruelty provision in Article 222 of the Penal Code is a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment of up to one year or a fine.

Articles 38 to 48 of the Animal Welfare Act 2004 contain provisions relating to offences and penalties and create certain regulatory bodies, including an Animal Protection Ombudsman for each state, and an Animal Protection Council consisting of those Ombudsmen, representatives from several government divisions, university representatives, a zoo representative and a member of the Central Federation of Animal Protection Associations.  Section 38 provides that contravention of the anti-cruelty and duty of care provisions in Article 5 of the Act is an administrative offence punishable by fine. Article 39 states that anyone who has been found guilty of cruelty to animals may be prohibited from keeping animals, and anyone who has breached Articles 5, 6, 7 or 8 of the Act more than once may be prohibited from keeping animals. The Animal Protection Enforcement Council includes the heads of various enforcement bodies, government officials and the animal welfare ombudsmen.  In addition, Article 42a(7) specifies that the Animal Protection Enforcement Council (Animal Executive Advisory Council) is responsible for issuing guidelines for the implementation of measures in the Act.      

A

Protecting animals used in farming

There is legislation

The general anti-cruelty law in Article 222 of the Penal Code and the anti-cruelty and duty of care provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2004 apply to this category of animal.

The government of Austria has also produced various provisions specifically relevant to the protection of animals in farming, which include the implementation of European Union legislative requirements.

Article 7(1) of the Act prohibits surgical interventions other than for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes, including tail docking and beak trimming. Article 12 requires the keepers of animals to comply with the provisions of the Act and its associated regulations regarding the keeping of animals and to have the required knowledge and skills, and Articles 13 to 23 contain further specific provisions relating to the keeping of animals, such as space, freedom of movement, floor material, design and equipping of the accommodation, temperature, nourishment, social contact and care during illness. Article 18 makes specific provisions regarding the enclosures used for laying hens. Article 20 provides that animals kept in enclosures whose welfare is particularly dependent on human beings must be inspected at least once each day.

The First Regulation on Keeping Animals 2004, which is secondary legislation made under the Animal Welfare Act 2004, sets minimum standards for the keeping of horses and other equids, pigs, cattle, sheep, goats, hoofed game, lamas, rabbits, poultry, ostriches and farmed fish.  There are also specific provisions relating to the keeping of poultry, including the design of accommodation, access to food and water, cleaning, and record keeping.

The Animal Welfare Monitoring Regulation 2004 makes provision regarding inspections to check compliance with animal welfare legislation. Article 2 provides that where breaches of animal welfare legislation have taken place, follow-up inspections must be carried out for the next three years, and Article 6 states that those carrying out inspections shall be veterinarians either employed by the authorities or officially designated by the authorities. Article 3 provides that at least 2% of agricultural holdings keeping animals must be subject to checks to ensure that animal welfare legislation is being complied with.

In relation to slaughter, Article 32 of the Animal Welfare Act 2004 provides that the slaughter of animals must be undertaken in a way that avoids all unnecessary pain, suffering, injury or distress for the animals and must be undertaken only by qualified, skilled persons. Killing without stunning is prohibited, with an exemption for religious slaughter. Article 3 of the Animal Welfare Slaughter Regulation 2004, which is secondary legislation made under the Animal Welfare Act 2004, provides that animals must be spared unjustified pain, suffering, damage and severe fear throughout the slaughter process.  The Regulation specifies the steps to be taken to achieve this objective, including construction of slaughter facilities, equipment used, and monitoring.

The Animal Transport Act 2007 defines enforcements and sanctions for the implementation of the European Union Council Regulation (EC) 1/2005 and provides that transport inspectors must perform certain duties, such as checking transport of animals on departure and arrival and during transport. The Act sets out minimum standards regarding feeding, space, fitting out of means of transport and skills of those dealing with animals during transport and sets maximum journey durations.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Overall, the legislation concerning the protection of animals used in farming in Austria is comprehensive and effective for making the welfare of this category of animals a mainstream concern of society. Primary and secondary legislation is in place at both national and regional levels. This legislation covers rearing, transport and slaughter, and is relevant to all farm animal species. The Health Ministry has also produced handbooks[1] explaining relevant legal provisions and providing detailed guidance on minimum standards for the specific welfare needs of some commonly farmed species of animals: poultry, cattle, sheep, pigs, goats. The government advises that the Federal Ministry of Health intends to produce a handbook and checklist concerning the legal provisions for horses.

 

[1] http://www.bmg.gv.at/home/Schwerpunkte/Tiergesundheit/Tierschutz/Tiersch...

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There are no significant barriers to the implementation of the relevant regulations and to the improvement of the welfare of this group of animals. Responsibilities for enforcement are clearly delineated in the regulations, and those responsible are required to undergo appropriate professional training. Legislation in the field of animal welfare is exclusively in the competence of the Federal Ministry (national level). At regional level there is no secondary legislation regarding animal welfare, but there is jurisdiction for laws for the security of people interacting with animals to be enacted.

There appear to be no significant financial or other barriers to the enforcement and delivery of animal protection measures enshrined in the Act or to the further improvement of legal protection.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Breach of the anti-cruelty provision in Article 222 of the Penal Code is a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment of up to one year or a fine.

Breach of the anti-cruelty and duty of care provisions in Article 5 of the Animal Welfare Act 2004 is punishable with fines (Article 38), prohibition on keeping animals (Article 39) and confiscation (Article 40).

Breach of the secondary regulations produced under the Animal Welfare Act 2004 is punishable with a fine (Article 38).

The Animal Welfare Monitoring Regulation 2004 clearly specifies that monitoring should be undertaken by qualified individuals to ensure compliance with all relevant provisions.  This piece of secondary legislation is designed to enforce compliance. In addition, Article 42a(7) of the Animal Welfare Act 2004 specifies that the Animal Protection Enforcement Council is responsible for issuing guidelines for the implementation of measures in the Act. 

B

Protecting animals in captivity

There is legislation

The general anti-cruelty law in Article 222 of the Penal Code and the anti-cruelty and duty of care provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2004 apply to this category of animal.

Austria also has legislation regulating keeping animals in captivity, including incorporation of the requirements of the European Union Directive 1999/22 on the keeping of wild animals in zoos.

The Animal Welfare Act 2004 makes various provisions for keeping animals in captivity. Articles 26 to 29 state that zoos, animal homes and events such as circuses require consent from the relevant authorities.  Article 28 states that the use of animals in other events (such as animal shows and markets) will be subject to random checks.

Article 26 of the Act makes provisions relating to keeping animals in zoos, which are more clearly defined in secondary legislation. The Zoo Regulation 2004 makes a number of detailed provisions regarding animals in captivity. Article 2 states that permission to keep animals in zoos may be granted under certain circumstances, including that animals are kept in a way that suits their biological and conservation needs, depending on the species, and the zoo is supported by a qualified veterinary surgeon who has the expertise to create a program of care and monitoring. Articles 3 to 7 make administrative provisions relating to the monitoring of the numbers of animals in the zoo, the qualifications of the zoo leader and other personnel who will care for the animals, and also distinguish between three different categories of zoo, with category A able to keep any type of animal in any numbers and categories B and C restricted as to the type and numbers of animals that they may keep. Article 4 of the Animal Welfare Monitoring Regulation 2004 provides that, in line with Article 23 of the Austrian Animal Welfare Act 2004, the authorities must inspect zoos at least once each year to check on compliance with animal welfare legislation.

The Second Regulation on Keeping of Animals also makes detailed provision for the keeping of a wide range of specific wild animals (including wild animals generally). Provisions relate to space, temperature, ground depth, nest or hutch material, feeding and whether animals should be kept together or separately. 

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The legislation on this area is highly detailed, and makes very specific provisions for the care of animals in captivity.  Animals in captivity are clearly recognised as facing particular animal welfare issues. 

However, there appear to be some issues with respect to implementation of the requirements of European Union Directive 1999/22, with the report of the 2011 European Union Zoo Inquiry highlighting failure of some zoos to meet the physiological and ethological needs of captive animals as required by the legislation.[1] The European Union Zoo Inquiry Report of 2011 also indicates that some establishments holding captive animals may not be licensed or monitored because of a failure to identify them as zoos.

 

[1] http://www.bornfree.org.uk/zooreports/Austria-en/

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There are no apparent barriers to improving animal welfare for captive animals. Responsibilities for enforcement are clearly set out in the legislation, and those responsible are required to undergo appropriate professional training. There appear to be no significant financial or other barriers to the enforcement and delivery of animal protection measures enshrined in the Act.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Breach of the anti-cruelty provision in Article 222 of the Penal Code is a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment of up to one year or a fine.

Breach of the anti-cruelty and duty of care provisions in Article 5 of the Animal Welfare Act 2004 is punishable with fines (Article 38), prohibition on keeping animals (Article 39) and confiscation (Article 40).

Breach of the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2004 relating to licensing for animals kept in captivity (Articles 26 to 29), and of secondary regulations produced under the Act, is punishable with fines (Article 38).

The legislation specifies that zoos must be inspected on a regular basis to ensure compliance with the regulations. The Animal Welfare Monitoring Regulation 2004 requires that monitoring should be undertaken by qualified individuals to ensure compliance with all relevant provisions. This piece of secondary legislation is designed to enforce compliance. In addition, Article 42a(7) of the Animal Welfare Act 2004 specifies that the Animal Protection Enforcement Council is responsible for issuing guidelines for the implementation of measures in the Act.

A

Protecting companion animals

There is legislation

The general anti-cruelty law in Article 222 of the Penal Code and the anti-cruelty and duty of care provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2004 apply to this category of animal; for example, the prohibitions on breeding where that would cause suffering. The examples of cruel conduct under Article 5(2) also include selective breeding for aggressiveness and using an animal to train another to attack.

The Animal Welfare Act 2004 also contains various provisions specifically relevant to companion animals.  Article 7 prohibits physical interventions that are not used for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes or for identification in accordance with relevant legislation, including tail-docking, ear-cropping, “de-barking” and “de-clawing”, unless to prevent reproduction or if the intervention is essential for the protection of the animal or others. Article 7(5) prohibits the import and sale of dogs born after 1 January 2008 and who have had such interventions made.

Article 16 prohibits restricting the freedom of movement of an animal so that it is caused pain, suffering, injury or severe anxiety, and permanent tethering is prohibited. Dogs may not be kept chained outside (16(5)).

Article 24a requires dogs to be microchipped and registered.

Article 29 requires shelters to be licenced in accordance with Article 23, and commercial breeders and pet shops are required to be licenced under Article 31. The Minister of Health has powers to make more detailed regulations. In relation to the regulation of commercial breeders and pet shops, the legislation placed a time limit of 2008 for these regulations to be made (Article 31(5)).

Regional authorities have responsibility for dealing with stray animals (Article 30).

There are also various pieces of secondary legislation relevant to companion animals.

The Commercial Animal Husbandry Regulation 2004 relates to establishments that keep animals for businesses purposes, such as pet shops, kennels and riding stables (Article 1). Article 2 provides that business establishments are responsible for the well-being and welfare of the animals they keep within the meaning of the Animal Welfare Act 2004. Article 4 outlines various standards required of business establishments keeping animals. Article 7a makes further rules about the keeping of dogs and cats in pet shops, including provisions relating to care of the animals, size and type of space to be provided and minimum age for keeping in a pet shop. Articles 10 to 13 make similar provisions regarding space, cleanliness and the qualification of staff in relation to kennels. Unwell animals must be taken to a veterinary surgeon, animals must have papers where relevant, and the kennels must record information about the animals. Articles 14 to 17 make provisions relating to riding stables and schools.

The Animal Shelter Regulation 2004 outlines a number of specific provisions for keeping animals in shelters.  For example, Article 3 requires that a sufficient number of qualified persons must look after the animals and a qualified manager must manage the shelter,  and Article 4 specifies that personnel are responsible for the feeding and watering of animals; young animals must be looked after according to their needs; dogs (except where aggressive) should be kept in groups; new animals should be kept apart in a quiet zone until they are ready to be integrated; unwell animals should be referred to a veterinary surgeon immediately and all animals should be checked by a veterinarian at intervals.

The Animal Welfare Monitoring Regulation 2004 specifies that all animal homes and establishments where animals are kept for business purposes must be inspected at least once per year for compliance with animal welfare legislation.

Annex I of the First Regulation on Keeping Animals 2004 sets out detailed minimum standards relating to the keeping of equids and Annex 9 sets out detailed minimum standards relating to the keeping of rabbits.  The provisions relate to the hutch facilities, including provisions relating to light (including during gestation), temperature, nest material, floor space and freedom of movement.

The Second Regulation on Keeping Animals 2004 makes provisions for the keeping of vertebrates that are not covered by the First Regulation on Keeping Animals, those that have special requirements and those for whom private keeping is forbidden, for example, apes.  Annex I makes detailed provision for the keeping of mammals: dogs, cats, small rodents, including chinchillas, gerbils, hamsters, house mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, degus, rats and ferrets. Annex II sets out the minimum standards for the keeping of birds.  Annex III sets out the minimum standards for the keeping of reptiles, snakes, lizards and chameleons. Annex IV sets out the minimum standards for the keeping of amphibians.  Annex V sets out the minimum standards for the keeping of fish (both fresh and saltwater).

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The legislation is highly detailed, and makes very specific provisions for the care of companion animals in a range of settings and across a number of species.  It is consistent with international trends in animal welfare standards, promotes responsible care of animals and mandates humane population control.  The website of the Federal Ministry of Health gives advice on the keeping of a range of species, which further promotes the welfare of this category of animals.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There are no apparent barriers to improving animal welfare.  Responsibilities for enforcement are clearly delineated in the regulations, and those responsible are required to undergo appropriate professional training.   There appear to be no significant financial or other barriers to the enforcement and delivery of animal protection measures outlined in the Act, including those relating to companion animals.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Breach of the anti-cruelty provision in Article 222 of the Penal Code is a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment of up to one year or a fine.

Breach of the anti-cruelty and duty of care provisions in Article 5 of the Animal Welfare Act 2004 is punishable with fines (Article 38), prohibition on keeping animals (Article 39) and confiscation (Article 40).

Breach of the relevant provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2004 (Articles 12 to 23, 29), and of secondary regulations produced under that Act, is punishable with fines (Article 38).

The Animal Welfare Monitoring Regulation clearly specifies that monitoring should be undertaken by qualified individuals to ensure compliance with all relevant provisions.  This piece of secondary legislation is designed to enforce compliance.  There are penalties for non-compliance.  In addition, Article 42a(7) of the Animal Welfare Act 2004 specifies that the Animal Protection Enforcement Council is responsible for issuing guidelines for the implementation of measures in the Act.

A

Protecting animals used for draught and recreation

There is legislation

The general anti-cruelty law in Article 222 of the Penal Code and the anti-cruelty and duty of care provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2004 apply to this category of animal. The examples of cruel conduct under Article 5(2) include organising animal fights, holding dog racing on hard surfaces, and using animals for activities such as movies and advertising when pain, suffering, injury or severe anxiety are involved.

Article 16 prohibits restricting the freedom of movement of an animal so that it is caused pain, suffering, injury or severe anxiety, and permanent tethering is prohibited. In relation to wild animals, even temporary tethering is prohibited (Article 16(6)).

Article 27 prohibits holding wild animals in circuses and similar shows, and keeping other animals in circuses requires a licence in accordance with Article 23. The use of animals in other events such as film recordings also requires licensing (Article 28). The ban on keeping wild animals in circuses was made in 2005 and was upheld by the Austrian Constitutional Court in 2012 following a legal challenge by a circus.[1] Various regulations produced under the Animal Welfare Act 2004 are specifically relevant to animals used for draught or recreational purposes.

The Commercial Animal Husbandry Regulation 2004 applies to establishments that keep animals for businesses purposes, including riding stables. Article 2 specifies that business establishments are responsible for the well-being and welfare of the animals they keep within the meaning of the Animal Welfare Act 2004. Article 4 outlines various standards required of business establishments keeping animals. Articles 14 to 17 make provisions relating to riding stables and schools.

The Regulation on the Training of Service Dogs 2004 outlines a series of provisions on the use of aids that may cause pain, suffering or damage in training or retraining dogs used by the security forces and armed forces.  The Regulation on More Detailed Provisions on the Training of Dogs in Compliance with Animal Welfare provides further detail, stating that the training of dogs must be carried out in such a way as to comply with the Article 5 of the Animal Welfare Act 2004 (the anti-cruelty provision of that Act).

The Animal Welfare Events Regulation 2004 states that events using animals must obtain consent. A responsible person must be named in the application for the consent, who is responsible for compliance with the Animal Welfare Act 2004. The responsible person must ensure that animals do not suffer any pain, suffering, damage or severe fear; cages and aviaries meet certain standards; animals have sufficient food and water; and a smoking ban is implemented and observed. The responsible person must check twice each day on the health of the animals. Unwell animals may not take part in any event.

The First Regulation on Keeping Animals 2004 and the Second Regulation on Keeping Animals 2004 both apply to draught animals.  Only healthy animals with no underlying conditions may take part in shows. Pregnant animals near to giving birth or who have given birth within the last seven days may not take part in an event, and young animals still suckling may not take part in events without their mothers. Animals must not take part in similar events less than four days apart. Article 6 sets out minimum standards for the accommodation of animals in relation to litter, access to food and water for all animals, size of cages, transport caddies and climate conditions.  Other regulations make specific provisions for a variety of species.

The Animal Welfare Circus Regulation 2004 relates to keeping working animals, such as horses, in circuses, variety shows and similar establishments.  The First Regulation on Keeping Animals 2004 and the Second Regulation on Keeping Animals 2004 also both apply here. Animals must be kept in conditions that ensure their health and safety as well as that of carers and visitors. They must be kept in a way so as to avoid illness and behaviour problems. Each animal must be kept in a way that is appropriate to its species. An inside area should be provided as well as an outside area where prescribed by the Regulations, and the outside area should be used daily where it is provided. Animals should be regularly trained where they are to perform, and on days when they are trained, should be allowed into the outside area for at least 6 to 8 hours where possible.

The Animal Welfare Monitoring Regulation 2004 states that all circuses and other similar arrangements must be inspected at least once per series of events at the place where the event will be held for compliance with animal welfare legislation.  For all other events, the authorities should carry out random checks in line with Article 28 of the Animal Welfare Act 2004.

 

[1] http://www.politicalanimal.org.uk/RSPCA/Circus%20brief%20Feb%202012.pdf

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The legislation on this area is highly detailed, and makes very specific provisions for the care of animals used for draught and recreational purposes in a range of settings and across a number of species. The prohibition on the use of wild animals in circuses promotes the welfare of this category of animals.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There appear to be no significant financial barriers to the enforcement and delivery of animal protection measures outlined in the Animal Welfare Act 2004.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Breach of the anti-cruelty provision in Article 222 of the Penal Code is a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment of up to one year or a fine.

Breach of the anti-cruelty and duty of care provisions in Article 5 of the Animal Welfare Act 2004 is punishable with fines (Article 38), prohibition on keeping animals (Article 39) and confiscation (Article 40).

Breach of the secondary regulations produced under the Animal Welfare Act 2004 is punishable with a fine (Article 38).

The Animal Welfare Monitoring Regulation 2004 clearly specifies that monitoring should be undertaken by qualified individuals to ensure compliance with all relevant provisions.  This piece of secondary legislation is designed to enforce compliance.  There are penalties for non-compliance.  Chapter 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2004 outlines a range of penalties for contravention of the Act.  In addition, Article 42(7) of the Act specifies that the Animal Protection Enforcement Council is responsible for issuing guidelines for the implementation of measures in the Act.

A

Protecting animals used in scientific research

There is legislation

The general anti-cruelty law in Article 222 of the Penal Code and the anti-cruelty and duty of care provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2004 apply to this category of animal. Particularly relevant in the context of animals used in research are the interpretation of the wording “unnecessary pain” in the Penal Code, and the provision in Article 3(3) of the Animal Welfare Act 2004 that the Act will not affect the Animal Experimentation Act 2012 (thus experiments carried out in accordance with the requirements of the Animal Experimentation Act 2012 would not fall within the protection of the Animal Welfare Act 2004). The relevant species-specific provisions of the First and Second Regulations on Keeping Animals 2004 also apply here, depending on what types of animal are used for the scientific experimentation.

The Animal Experimentation Act 2012, which incorporates the requirements of European Union Directive 2010/63, aims to avoid and reduce the use of animals in experimentation, to promote better conditions for the breeding, accommodation, care and use of animals in animal experimentation, to promote alternative methods of experimentation, and to avoid or at least reduce stress for animals used during experimentation. The Act applies to vertebrates (including independently feeding larval forms and fetal mammals in the last third of gestation), and cephalopods (Article 1). Animal experimentation may only take place for certain specified purposes (Article 5) and prior approval must be obtained (Article 26).  Article 11 stipulates that animals must be killed with the least amount of pain, suffering and fear. Anaesthetic must always be used, except where incompatible with the purpose of the experiment or where the pain of the experiment is less than that of the anaesthetic (Article 8). The law bans experimentation on Great Apes (Article 4(5)) and restricts the type of experiments that can be carried out on other non-human primates (Article 13). Cosmetic testing is prohibited with limited exceptions (Article 4(9a)).

Article 25 of the Act requires breeders, suppliers and users of animals to ensure that the animals receive adequate accommodation, food, water and care for their health and well-being; to keep to a minimum any factors that can inhibit animals being able to satisfy their physiological and ethological needs; and to comply with specific housing and care requirements set out in secondary legislation.

The legislation incorporates the principles of the Three Rs, prohibiting experiments where there are non-animal alternatives, the results of previous experiments are available, and when new findings are not anticipated and the experiment is not needed for control purposes (Article 4(1-3)). Article 38 makes provision for cooperation with the European Commission on the development of alternatives to animal testing.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The legislation is highly detailed, and makes very specific provisions for the care of animals used for scientific research. The aim of the Animal Experimentation Act 2012 is to avoid and reduce the number of animals used in experimentation. Consequently, the legislation is explicitly designed to make cumulative improvements to the welfare of animals used in experimentation. This legislation clearly recognises the specific issues associated with animal experimentation, and therefore makes the welfare of animals used in this way a mainstream concern of society.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There appear to be no significant financial or other barriers to the enforcement and delivery of animal protection measures outlined in the Animal Experimentation Act 2012, including those relating to animals in experimentation. There are no significant barriers to improving animal welfare within this legislative framework.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Breach of the anti-cruelty provision in Article 222 of the Penal Code is a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment of up to one year or a fine. Breach of the anti-cruelty and duty of care provisions in Article 5 of the Animal Welfare Act 2004 is punishable with fines (Article 38), prohibition on keeping animals (Article 39) and confiscation (Article 40).

Breach of the provisions of the Animal Experimentation Act 2012 is an administrative offence punishable with fines, unless the conduct amounts to a criminal offence (that is, unless the conduct falls under the remit of the Penal Code) (Article 39). Facilities may be closed under Article 34. Articles 32 and 33 of the Animal Experimentation Act 2012 make provisions for supervision and enforcement activities.

B

Protecting the welfare of wild animals

There is legislation

Article 222 of the Penal Code creates an offence of cruelty to animals. It is prohibited to mistreat an animal or inflict unnecessary pain, and the wanton killing of vertebrates is prohibited. It is not clear whether activities connected with hunting are excluded from these provisions.

The Animal Welfare Act 2004 does not apply to hunting and fishing activities (Article 3(4)). The government has confirmed that while this is true, as long as laws for hunting and fishing are met (even in the performing of hunting or fishing)  no contravention on of Art. 222 of the Penal Code occurs. In case of infringements of laws relating hunting or fishing Art. 222 of the Penal Code applies

Austrian legislation relating to hunting is regulated at state level in each of the nine states.

As a typical example, in Burgenland the Hunting Act 2004 allows hunting in two circumstances: where a landowner hunts on his own land or hunting enclosure, and where hunting associations hunt in “cooperative hunting areas”.  These areas must be registered with the authorities as designated hunting areas.  Game reserves (for hunting, show or breeding) may also be established with the permission of the authorities.  All those who hunt must carry a valid hunting licence or an equivalent document granted by another European Union Member State in conjunction with a hunting guest card.  Article 11 states that game reserves will be given authorisation where animal welfare and veterinary supervision requirements are met, and Article 67(11) stipulates that a hunting card will not be granted where a person has been convicted of cruelty to animals under the Penal Code or has committed a serious or repeated hunting offence. Article 99 prohibits the use of poison and generally prohibits the use of traps which do not ensure intact live capture. However, Article 98 permits hunting with dogs.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Hunting is permitted under state-level legislation in Austria, although there are provisions (in the legislation of an example state Burgenland) to prevent the grant of a licence to someone who has been convicted of an animal cruelty offence, and the use of poison and traps which injure animals is prohibited. The use of dogs for hunting is permitted in the country and this presents welfare challenges to wild animals as this method of hunting can cause intense fear and suffering. However it is noted that the government comments that the use of dogs in hunting is generally for tracking wounded animals, which therefore may not be compromising to their welfare.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

Although regulations on hunting are helpful, they do not address all of the significant welfare concerns associated with hunting. Acceptance of hunting by society may present a barrier to improvement in this area.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Breach of the anti-cruelty provision in Article 222 of the Penal Code is a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment of up to one year or a fine.

At state level, the typical example of the Burgenland Hunting Act 2004 contains provisions for disciplinary action including fines (Articles 159 to 180).

Governance structures and systems

Governance structures and systems

This theme examines government commitment to improving animal protection. This includes whether there is allocation of responsibility, accountability and resources within government.

A

Government accountability for animal welfare

There is legislation

In Austria, the Federal Ministry of Health is responsible for animal welfare issues. The government has confirmed that the Federal Ministry of Health works with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management to reach agreement as far as animals kept for farming purposes are concerned. An animal welfare report is produced by the Department of Animal Welfare, Animal Health and Zoonoses of the Federal Ministry of Health and is submitted to the National Court every two years.

Austria also has three animal welfare bodies created under the Animal Welfare Act 2004.

The Animal Welfare Commission advises the Minister for Health on animal welfare issues and makes recommendations in relation to animal welfare and related policy..

The Commission consists of one representative from each party in the Nationalrat (National Council: one of the two houses of the Austrian parliament) and two experts each from the Federal Ministries of Health and of Agriculture, Forestry, the Environment and Water Management.

The Animal Protection Enforcement Council focuses on the enforcement of animal welfare legislation through the development of guidance documents in relation to coherent enforcement of animal welfare and also the transportation of live animals.  The members of the Council include heads of specialist enforcement bodies at state level, the Chair of the Animal Welfare Council, a representative of the state Animal Welfare Ombudsmen, and representatives of the Federal Ministries of Health and of Agriculture, Forestry, the Environment and Water Management.

The Animal Protection Council also has an advisory function but concentrates on the review, development and implementation of animal welfare policy, guidance and legislation in Austria.  The Council also produces surveys, makes recommendations (including in relation to enforcement in the Federal States), produces position papers based on scientific evidence and also an annual report on its activities.  The Council’s members include the animal welfare ombudsmen and representatives of ministries, chambers, universities and animal welfare organisations.

In relation to animal testing, Article 35 of the Animal Experimentation Act 2012 establishes a federal Animal Experimentation Commission, the membership of which must include representatives of government, academia, industry and animal protection organisations. The Commission advises government and exchanges information within the European Union and with other national bodies.

In addition to these governmental bodies, an Animal Welfare Spokesperson is nominated by each political party, and an Animal Welfare Ombudsman is elected in each state.  The Ombudsmen perform a variety of tasks, with their principal function being to act as an independent, non-governmental representative of the interests of animal welfare.  They must report to the relevant state government on their activities.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

It is evident that there is a strong administrative framework for managing animal welfare in Austria, at both federal and state level.  This administrative framework is sufficient for making animal welfare a mainstream concern in the country.  National responsibility for animal welfare falls to the Ministry of Health.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The administrative framework is comprehensive. Responsibilities for enforcement are clearly delineated in the regulations. Human and financial resources allocated to this administrative framework are sufficient for improving animal welfare. 

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

The various functions of the relevant administrative bodies are enshrined in the Animal Welfare Act 2004 Articles 41 and 42 and in Article 35 of the Animal Experimentation Act 2012. 

Animal welfare standards

Animal welfare standards

This theme examines whether the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)’s animal welfare standards have been incorporated into law or policy, the extent of engagement with the OIE on animal welfare issues, and whether the government publishes reports on progress in improving animal welfare.

A

OIE animal welfare standards

There is legislation

There is a raft of legislation in place at a federal level in Austria that effectively transposes the OIE’s guiding principles into legislation.  This includes the content of the OIE’s standards on transport, slaughter, population control, research and production.  Consequently, it is evident that Austrian legislation is in line with the OIE’s principles and standards.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The legislation in place is effective to protect animal welfare across all categories and in all relevant settings.  Consistency with international animal welfare standards is good for making these concepts a concern of society at large.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

Overall, there are no significant barriers to prevent the government of Austria developing and implementing further legislation in compliance with the OIE’s standards, including standards developed in the future. The Animal Protection Commission produces regular reports on animal welfare and advises on the animal welfare policy.  This is an effective mechanism for ensuring that future OIE standards can be similarly transposed into national legislation.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are administrative penalties under the Animal Welfare Act 2004, the Animal Experimentation Act 2012 and relevant secondary legislation, for breaches of the provisions of that legislation that cover the OIE’s standards.

C

Engagement with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)

There is policy

Engagement with the OIE is through the Chief Veterinary Officer.  There is evidence of co-operation regarding issues of animal health. For example, one of the tasks of the veterinary department of the Federal Ministry for Health is to co-ordinate with the OIE.[1]

However there is no apparent evidence of any direct work with the OIE on animal welfare beyond this level of engagement.

 

[1]http://bmg.gv.at/home/Ministerium/Geschaeftseinteilung/Sektion_2/Aufgabe...

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The government of Austria has adopted primary and secondary legislation which brings national law into alignment with the OIE animal welfare standards. It would further benefit animal protection in the country for the government to extend its OIE engagement in the field of animal welfare.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The government of Austria has the potential to play a leading role in the OIE.  The Animal Protection Council is responsible for making recommendations on the development and amendment of existing animal welfare policy and legislation, including changes in response to international trends. Given the fact that Austria has implemented the OIE’s animal welfare standards into policy and legislation there would not appear to be any barriers to the government increasing engagement with the OIE to facilitate improvement of animal welfare around the world.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are no enforcement mechanisms relevant to this indicator.

A

Reporting on progress

There is legislation

Reports on progress and monitoring of animal welfare standards are produced by various bodies. This reporting is established as a function of the administrative bodies for animal welfare under the Animal Welfare Act 2004.

The Department of Animal Welfare, Animal Health and Zoonoses of the Federal Ministry of Health produces an animal welfare report that is submitted to the National Court every two years.

Each state’s Animal Welfare Ombudsman must report to the relevant state government on their activities.

The Animal Protection Council produces surveys, makes recommendations (including in relation to enforcement in the Federal States), produces position papers (sometimes on draft legislation) based on scientific evidence and also an annual report on its activities.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The reporting function is mandated under legislation.  Consequently, the status of animal welfare in the country can be measured effectively, and on a regular basis.  Existing provisions for reporting are effective for bringing animal welfare issues to the attention of the public.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There are no barriers to improving animal welfare through improved reporting, as human resource for preparing reports are clearly identified and defined in the existing legislative provisions. There appear to be no significant financial or other barriers to the enforcement and delivery of animal protection measures outlined in the Animal Welfare Act 2004, including the preparation of reports.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

The requirements to produce reports are mandated in legislation.

Providing humane education

Providing humane education

This theme examines whether issues of animal care and protection are included in the national education system at primary and secondary level, and comments on whether animal welfare issues such as humane handling form part of veterinary medicine education.

B

Education on animal care and protection

There is legislation

Under Article 2 of the Animal Welfare Act 2004, the federal government, state governments and local authorities are obliged to raise public awareness regarding animal welfare, particularly among young people.

The Austrian Association for Animal Welfare Education was founded in 2006, under the Animal Welfare Act 2004. Members include experts in animal welfare research as well as prominent public figures. The organisation provides teaching materials and aids for schools as well as publications and advanced training for professionals. The organisation reports that these materials have been accessed by over 310,000 students and over 2,400 schools in Austria. Thousands of teachers have also been trained to give animal welfare workshops. The organisation cooperates with education institutions in Austria to produce these materials.

Recently animal welfare was fixed in the convention edict “Environmental Education for a Sustainable Development” by the Federal Ministry of Education and Women's Affairs. 

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The requirement to raise awareness is a useful step towards introducing animal welfare concepts in society, and the government has taken decisive steps to introduce it as a legislative concern. By doing so, the government shows that education on animal welfare is considered as an independent issue and it is working towards inclusion of educational topics in society, therefore contributing to acknowledge animal welfare as a mainstream concern of society. 

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

It is not clear from legislation whether human and financial resources have been allocated to the development and delivery of animal welfare content in schools. However there are no apparent financial or other barriers to the improvement of animal welfare through the mandatory inclusion of this subject in the national curriculum

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

The requirement to raise public awareness is mandated in legislation.

Promoting communication and awareness

Promoting communication and awareness

This theme examines whether there is government consultation and engagement with relevant stakeholders on animal protection issues, such as the development of new legislation and policy and the licensing of scientific research using animals.

A

Consultation with stakeholders

There is legislation

Two NGOs are represented in the Animal Protection Council, established under the Animal Welfare Act 2004.  Several universities and research centres are also represented, as are business and agricultural associations. Animal Welfare Ombudsmen and representatives of each state also sit on the council. 

Membership of the Animal Experimentation Commission is required to include representatives from government, academia, industry and animal protection organisations (Article 34 Animal Experimentation Act 2012).

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The inclusion of relevant stakeholders in the policy development process is mandated under legislation, including all members of the Animal Protection Council articulated in Article 42 of the Animal Welfare Act 2004.  This includes NGOs and government officials, and enables consultation with scientific experts. 

Wide consultation and civil society input should improve the quality of policy and legislation.  Consequently, the legislation is effective for making animal welfare a mainstream societal concern.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There are no barriers to the government working with relevant stakeholders. The structure for including stakeholders in dialogue is robust and consistent. Human resource is clearly stipulated in legislation.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

The function and composition of the relevant consultation bodies is mandated by legislation.

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The government has set a course to reduce its budget deficit; BMI forecasts that it will fall to 1.9% of GDP by 2014. Some of the measures planned in Austria’s austerity measures include “the abandonment of several railway projects, a reduction in local authority spending, higher taxes on business property transactions and hospital reform”. It is expected that increased tax revenue coupled with a drive to reduce deficits in the provinces, will help reduce the overall deficit.  Over the period, 2012 – 2014, BMI forecasts real GDP to increase from 0.5% to 1.5%. The main driver for this increase in will be external trade. 56% of Austria’s GDP is currently represented by exports, primarily to Germany (33% of total).

 

Date of information: 11/02/2014
Population 
8,462,446
GDP 
$399,649,131,197
GDP (PPP) 
$44,208
Education expenditure (% of GDP) 
6 (2009)