The general anti-cruelty provision in Article 14(a) of the Animal Protection Law (2004) applies to this category of animals.
Article 10 of the Animal Protection Law (2004) provides that the care, feeding and transport of farm animals and arrangements aimed at ensuring their welfare and security during slaughter will be determined by a regulation to be issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
Article 9 of the Law on Veterinary Services, Plant Health, Food and Feed (Law 5996 of 2010) provides that the owners or keepers of animals are responsible for satisfying the sheltering, care, feeding, health and other needs of animals, to ensure animal welfare. The rules for animal welfare during sheltering, transport, pre-slaughter and slaughter are to be determined by the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry in an implementing regulation.
Animal welfare provisions for farm animals are also made through the Regulation on General Provisions Regarding Welfare of Farm Animals (2014). The Regulation is applicable to all animals reared for use including laboratory animals and those living in wild environments. The Regulation mandates enough appropriately trained staff at farms and requires the main animal caretaker to organise regular training courses. Indoor facilities are required to ensure housing areas are suitable for different climatic conditions, while outdoor facilities are required to ensure animals are protected from adverse weather conditions, predators and other risk factors.
Rearing - pigs
There is no policy or legislation related specifically to pigs. However, reports suggest that as of 2016 there was only one pig farm left in the country and that the Government is no longer accepting applications for licenses for pig farms.
Rearing - broiler chickens
The Regulation on Minimum Standards for the Protection of Chickens Kept for Meat Production (2018) was introduced to move Turkey towards alignment with EU standards of care. The Regulation mandates maximum stocking density and minimum and maximum temperatures in broiler chicken facilities.
Rearing - egg-laying hens
The Regulation on Minimum Standards for Layer Chickens (2014) was introduced to move Turkey towards alignment with EU standards of care. The Regulation considers both cage-free and caged systems. Under the Regulation, in cage-free systems each chicken is required to be provided with at least 1m2 for nesting and several access doors to the outside. There can be no more than nine chickens per square metre.
Under the Regulation on Minimum Standards for Layer Chickens (2014), unenriched cage systems required chickens to have at least 550cm2 free space. In enriched cage systems, chickens are required to have at least 750cm2 free space.
Rearing - dairy cattle and calves
The Regulation on Minimum Standards for the Protection of Calves (2014) was introduced to move Turkey towards alignment with EU standards of care. Under the Regulation, calves older than eight weeks are not allowed to be held in individual compartments unless required by a veterinarian. The Regulations also mandate minimum usage areas for different sized calves.
Regulation on the Transport of Live Animal and Animal Products in the country (2011) governs transport of farm animals in Turkey. Under the Regulation, there are some requirements aimed at minimising unnecessary pain and suffering, for example appropriate ramps and at least 2cm thickness of bedding or straw. Similarly, animals shall not be loaded into vehicles in such a manner that could cause injury or unnecessary pain and suffering. While the regulations state that vehicles should not be overloaded, there are no details regarding minimum space per animal. The Regulation also mandates that transport vehicles be covered to provide adequate air in accordance with weather conditions and that vehicles have height and space suitable to the volume of animals being transported.
The Regulation on the Welfare and Protection of Animals during Transport (2011) also governs animal transportation in Turkey. Under the general conditions of the legislation, animals are not to be transported in such a way as to cause unnecessary injury or pain, the design of the transport vehicle is designed and operated to ensure the safety of animals and that during transport the personnel dealing with animals, are required to be trained and perform their duties without using violence or methods that may cause unnecessary fear, injury or pain. During transportation, loading or unloading, it is prohibited to hit or kick an animal, apply pressure to a sensitive part of the body causing pain, lift or drag their heads, eyes, ears, horns, tails, wool/skin or treat them unnecessarily painfully. It is also prohibited to use tools with sharp tips and the use of electrical devices are to be avoided and only to be used when absolutely necessary on adult bovines and pigs. Shocks are only to be administered so they last for less than a second, with enough time between them and only on the hind hip of the animal. A shocking implement is only to be used when an adult bovine or pig is resistant to movement and has space in front of them to move forwards.
Article 22 details training courses required to be undertaken by the shipper, carer and driver for farm animal transportation. The training includes animal physiology, behaviour including stress indicators and water and feed needs. The training also includes emergency care of animals and the effect of driver behaviour on animal welfare.
The Regulations also details some restrictions regarding animals that can be transported for example, it is forbidden to transport injured or ill animals, animals that have just given birth or are new-born. Young calves, lambs and piglets are not allowed to be transported any further than one hundred kilometres. For adult bovines, sheep, goats, and pigs the length of journey is not allowed to exceed eight hours unless further conditions such as stopping, resting and feeding occur.
Under Chapter 9 of the Regulation on the Welfare and Protection of Animals during Transport (2011), all transportation vehicles must comply with minimum requirements including preventing injury and suffering to animals, protection from extreme cold and heat and other adverse weather. Vehicles are also required to be equipped with sensors to alert the driver when maximum or minimum temperatures are reached in the animal compartments. Similarly, where the loading or unloading process takes more than four hours, an alternative space must be available for animals to be kept, fed and watered without tying.
Annex 1 of the Regulation on the Welfare and Protection of Animals during Transport (2011), details appropriate quality and quantity of food and water in accordance with their sex, species, age, live weight and the possibility of resting. Annex-2 details adequate space and height requirements for transporting animals based in sex, species, age, live weights and foreseen journey.
Article 12 of the Animal Protection Law (2004) provides that the slaughter of animals will be carried out, considering religious requirements, without frightening or startling the animal, in the least painful manner possible and as quickly as possible. Religious slaughter rules will be determined by the Ministry in charge of the Directorate of Religious Affairs.
Under the Regulation on General and Special Hygiene of Small Capacity Slaughterhouses (2018), slaughterhouses of all sizes are required to seek a certificate of approval to operate. An official veterinarian for each small slaughterhouse is assigned by the local authority. The slaughterhouse operator is responsible for ensure the facility adheres to animal welfare requirements.
Under the Law on Veterinary Services, Plant Health, Food and Feed (2010) when the slaughter or culling of animals is required for disease control purposes, it shall be performed without causing unnecessary fear, pain or distress and by using appropriate tools.
The livestock industry is extensive in Turkey and affects tens of millions of animals. Considering this scale, despite recognising the welfare of farm animals as an individual issue requiring attention in legislation, and the production of secondary legislation to align with EU standards, there are limited animal welfare protections for farm animals under the law. For example, in secondary regulations regarding the rearing of chickens and calves, there is very little mention of animal welfare and no prohibited acts are included in the regulations.
The regulations regarding transport of live animals, while not perfect, are clear and provide detailed limits on travel, feeding, watering and rest periods for animals of different species. This stands in contrast to the limited clarity regarding slaughter and rearing of farmed animals.
Article 24 of the Animal Protection Law (2004) provides that anyone who acts in breach of the provisions of the Law and in this manner seriously neglects the animals in their care or causes them pain, suffering or damage will be banned from keeping animals, and Article 28(k) provides that anyone breaching the prohibitions in Article 14(a) and (e) is subject to pay an administrative fine of two hundred and fifty million Lira (since devaluation in 2005, two hundred and fifty Lira), and to have the animal confiscated.
If secondary regulations are made under Article 10 of the Animal Protection Law (2004), breach of those regulations would be subject to an administrative fine under Article 28(g) of that Law. Similarly, if regulations are made under Article 9 of the Law on Veterinary Services, Plant Health, Food and Feed (2010), breach of those regulations would be subject to an administrative fine under Article 36(g) of that Law.
There are no enforcement mechanisms in secondary legislation.
• The Government of Turkey is urged to amend animal welfare legislation regarding farm animals to ensure the Five Freedoms are enshrined in law during the whole life of farmed animals including rearing, transport and slaughter.
• The Government of Turkey is urged to mandate the humane slaughter of all farm animals. Animals should be instantaneously rendered unconscious and insensible to pain and distress prior to slaughter. Today, there is growing consensus amongst religious authorities worldwide that pre-slaughter stunning is compatible with religious principles. Humane halal slaughter allows for the animal to be temporarily rendered unconscious via stunning prior to slaughter, as long as the animal's skull remains intact and the animal would regain consciousness in time should slaughter not occur. Therefore, animals should be unconscious before being bled, and no further processing should occur until irreversible loss of consciousness is confirmed. No animal should be forced to witness other animals being slaughtered as this is inherently distressing.
• Due to the significant animal welfare concerns associated with long distance transport, the Government of Turkey is strongly urged to ban the export of live animals for long distances (i.e. over eight hours) and replace it with a meat only trade. Long distance transport is inherently cruel as it involves chronic stress for all animals and for some species and modes of transport it may involve overpopulation, exhaustion, excess heat or cold, inadequate ventilation and/or access to food and water, leading to disease, pain, injury or death.