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Animal Welfare Act (693/2023).

Type of law

The purpose of this Act is to promote animal welfare and to protect animals from harm to the best possible extent. It applies to all animals and is aimed at increasing their respect and promoting good animal treatment. The Act contains 126 articles organized in the following chapters: 1. General provisions; 2. General principles and responsibility for animals; 3. Treatment of animals; 4. Animal care; 5. Animal housing facilities; 6. Import and transfer of animals; 7. Animal competitions and animal exhibitions; 8. Keeping of animals subject to permit or notification requirements; 9. Killing of animals; 10. Authorities and their responsibilities; 11. Supervision; 12. Administrative coercive measures and sanctions; 13. Registry; 14. Punitive provisions; 15. Special provisions; 16. Entry into force and transitional provisions as well as exceptions that apply to certain animal species.
The Act lays down a general principle establishing that Animals should be treated well and with respect. An animal may not be subjected to unnecessary pain or suffering, and the animal's welfare may not be jeopardized unnecessarily. Animals kept by humans may not be left without care or abandoned. Only the animal species listed in Annex 1 may be kept as production animals or circus animals or in mobile animal exhibitions. Furthermore, animals should be treated and handled calmly. When handling and training an animal, its species-specific behavior should be taken into account as much as possible. A surgery or any other procedure that causes pain or suffering may only be performed on an animal if it is justified with regards to that animal's welfare. However, certain actions are permitted, such as marking the animal with a method that causes short-term and mild pain; castrating or sterilizing animals; inseminating animals and taking other measures related to artificial reproduction and reproductive health; etc.
As regards animal care, they should be cared for in a way that allows them to satisfy their essential behavioral needs related to movement, play, rest, body care, eating, searching for food, exploring their environment, and social relationships. The general welfare of captive animals, as well as the cleanliness and other necessary body care that the animal requires, shall be ensured. Appropriate measures to prevent diseases and injuries in animals should also be taken during their care. The composition of the feed and drink given to animals, including the way it is given, shall correspond to the animal's physiological needs and essential behavioral needs. In a permanent animal holding facility for mammals and birds, the animals shall have continuous access to water. Animals must not be forced to eat or drink, unless it is necessary for veterinary reasons. The owner or keeper of production animals shall keep records of the medical treatment given to the production animals and of the number of dead animals.
As regards slaughtering of animals, they shall be slaughtered as quickly and painlessly as possible using a method and technique suitable for the killing of that animal. The animal shall be stunned if the killing method used does not lead to immediate death. The stunning method shall render the animal unconscious until it dies. Animals may not be killed for entertainment purposes.
The Swedish National Food Agency plans, directs, and carries out supervision of animal welfare, and oversees compliance with animal welfare regulations throughout the country. It shall develop a nationwide plan for the supervision of animal welfare. among other responsibilities.
Date of text
Entry into force notes
This Act enters into force on 1 January 2024.
Source language


Legislation Amendment
Original title
Lag om djurv lf rd (693/2023).