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Bans on physical interventions involving animals

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

In the Netherlands physical interventions on animals (to remove or damage parts of an animal) are not allowed. There are a few exceptions. For instance, veterinarians may perform physical interventions on animals if it is (medically) necessary.

Which interventions are not allowed?

In general physical interventions on animals are not allowed. Nor are you allowed to:

  • remove the tails and ears of animals (docking);
  • remove parts of a bird’s wings (wing clipping):
  • trim beaks of chickens and turkeys (in Dutch);
  • remove the back claw/spur of roosters and turkeys;
  • remove the nose flap of pheasants;
  • administer medicines that have not been approved.

A veterinarian may perform these physical interventions only if it is in the best interest of the animal (there is a medical necessity).

Which interventions are permitted?

Some interventions are permitted (in Dutch), for instance:

  • ear tagging of cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats in order to identify animals;
  • dehorning of dairy goats and cattle;
  • animal sterilisation; and
  • interventions prescribed by a veterinarian.

The intervention may not unnecessarily hurt or harm the animal. The animal should not be permanently hindered by the intervention.

Who can perform necessary interventions?

The following specialists are allowed to perform interventions:

  • Veterinarians.
  • Paraveterinary workers: veterinarian assistants, animal physiotherapists, embryo transfer technicians.
  • In some cases livestock farmers are allowed to perform an intervention, so that they can, for instance, chip or tag their cattle for identification.

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This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
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