Text of Act
Chapter I General requirements
With regard to § 1. Intention
The intention of the Act is to encourage good animal welfare and respect for animals based on acceptance that animals are sentient beings and which have an intrinsic value irrespective of the usable value they may have for people.
The term animal welfare has its origins in the individual animal and the situation it finds itself in. Animal welfare is a complex term and researchers have proposed various definitions.
The interpretation of ”animal welfare” is based on an assessment of the subjective mental condition of the animal. It is therefore the animal’s feelings such as fear, pain, frustration, wellbeing and pleasure, or more precisely, the balance between the positive and negative experiences, which is influential on welfare. With respect to the animal’s experience being central, a relevant definition of animal welfare is the subjective experience of its mental and physical condition as a result of its attempts to master its environment. Other aspects which can also influence animal welfare are the animal’s ability to practice species specific natural behaviour and develop its biological potential. Animal welfare has therefore much of the same meaning as the more everyday term ”contentment”.
With regard to what can be called good animal welfare, this must to a large extent be based upon objective, professional criteria, and will vary based on the specific characteristics of the animal. The term animal welfare is a description of the condition of each individual animal. When the term is to be applied at the herd level or in a fishing net, specific attention must be given to the individuals that suffer most. The combined level of animal welfare can be said to be good even though not all individuals’ welfare can be considered acceptable.
People’s respect for animals can have a direct impact on animal welfare, or indirect impact, in that unacceptable attitudes can contribute to poor treatment of animals. The Act’s intention with regard to encouraging respect shall have an attitude changing effect and shall primarily be achieved through activities hic encourage good animal welfare. To encourage respect for animals is an independent consideration even though a lack of respect for animals will not necessarily lead to reduced welfare. When interpreting the term “respect”, it is important to consider ethical considerations regarding how the animal should or should not be treated in addition to pure welfare considerations.
With regard to § 2. Scope
The Act applies to living mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, decapoda, octopus and honey bees. Decapoda is a group of crustaceans which belong to the Malacostraca group. The group includes some of the most familiar crustceans, such as lobster, crab and shrimp. The Act also applies to the development stages of these animals from the point at which the sense apparatus has reached an equivalent development level to that which can be found in living (born) animals.
The Act applies to all situations which influence the welfare of and respect for such animals. “Conditions which influence welfare and respect” include all acts and activities, including failure to act, which affect the animals’ welfare or respect for the animal. This will also encompass installations, equipment and industrial methods etc. In addition the production, processing and trading of products from animals which are covered by the scope of the Act will be included.
In several of the specific regulations of the Act it is stated who is the person responsible for following the regulation. In the event of the responsible individual not being stated, the Act’s regulations will apply to all. Some of the regulations apply to the animal keeper, whereas others apply to persons who carry out certain activities or treatment. All owned animals will be considered to have an animal keeper. An animal keeper can be an owner or another person who has permanent or temporary responsibility for an animal.
The Act’s geographic scope includes Norwegian land territory, territorial waters, the Norwegian economic zone, Norwegian ships and aircraft, and installations located on the Norwegian continental shelf. The term “Norwegian ships” includes all Norwegian ships regardless where they are situated. The term “ship” is wide and includes a wide spectre of vessels. It includes vessels registered in the Norwegian ships register (NIS and NOR), all forms of fishing vessels and also small boats and pleasure craft which are not required to be registered.
Installations located on the Norwegian continental shelf include first and foremost oil and gas installations, both fixed and floating, and housing facilities connected to these. Subsequent new types of facilities on the Norwegian continental shelf will also be covered by the term. The Act covers Norwegian aircraft. This must be interpreted in the light of the Chicago Convention regarding civil aviation 1944 Art. 17 and the Aviation Act of 11 June 1993 no 101.
The Act applies in the Norwegian economic zone. Coastal states’ limited rights within the zone will limit enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act.
The Act applies to Spitzbergen, Jan Mayen and the Norwegian dependencies. However, as a result of the particular management structure that applies to these areas, it is natural that the Food Safety Authority does not have the same tasks as on the mainland. In the case of Spitzbergen it would be appropriate to give the Governor of Spitzbergen the authority to carry out supervision and make decisions under the Act. A subsequent delegation of power to enforce the law to for example the Governor will be done through regulation under the section regarding supervision and decision power. During the exercise of such powers, it would be appropriate that the Governor should be assisted by others, for example the Food Safety Authority.
It is also possible to regulate the area of application of the Act to Spitzbergen, Jan Mayen and the dependencies, including making exceptions from substantive regulations in the Act. This will be appropriate where substantive regulations of the Animal Welfare Act are in conflict with specific law, international obligations or other conditions that are specific to the area.
With regard to § 3. General requirement regarding the treatment of animals
This regulation states that animals have an intrinsic value and must be treated well and be protected against danger of unnecessary stresses and strains. This section will apply independently, in the same way as section 2 of the previous Act, where other sections in the act do not cover a specific situation. It is particularly relevant to actions taken by individuals other than the animal keeper. In addition, it will be significant in interpreting and applying other regulations in the Act.
The term “intrinsic” value shall not be interpreted stricter than to allow regular animal keeping, as we know it today.
What is considered good treatment will be determined by a concrete evaluation of the individual situation. The requirement for good treatment is related to the animal as an individual. This means that consideration should be had for the animal’s physical and psychological needs, subject to the animal species and ability to have positive and negative experiences. This section also applies with respect to animal keeping or industrial methods where it is not possible at all times to carry out supervision of all individuals, for instance in cases where animals are grazing and in holdings with a particularly large density of animals.
The requirement to protect the animal against danger of unnecessary stresses and strains implies that it is necessary for the person responsible for the animal to actively protect the animal against sickness, injuries and foreseeable dangers.
Irrespective of the obligations of the animal keeper, all individuals have an obligation to act in an appropriate manner so that animals are not exposed to unnecessary stresses and strains. This applies to both owned animals and wild animals.
The interpretation of “stresses and strains” is subject to a professional animal welfare assessment. The assessment should in general be scientifically based. It is, however, not necessarily the case that all situations are measurable or that scientific based knowledge is available. It may therefore be necessary to take discretionary decisions.
In the assessment of whether a stress or strain is unnecessary, regard should be had for the character and extent of the stress or strain, whether it is inflicted by people, the intentions of exposing the animal to such treatment, and whether such treatment is generally accepted.
The requirement regarding the protection of animals against unnecessary stresses and strains involves taking action before such events have occurred. The term “danger of” implies that, where there is limited knowledge, a precautionary principle prevails.
With regard to § 4. Obligation to help
The first sentence of the first article obliges anybody who discovers an animal which is obviously sick, injured, or helpless to administer help. The obligation to help also includes wild animals.
The obligation to help as described under this section does not apply in situations where a large number of animals are suffering, for instance when one discovers birds which have been damaged by oil spillage. In such circumstances the provision in article § 5 regarding the duty to alert applies.
The regulation is targeted at the individual who discovers the animal. In cases where several individuals discover an animal all individuals will have an obligation to help. In certain situations it will be appropriate to ask others for help because they are in the vicinity, have knowledge, a telephone, car or something similar. These individuals do not have an independent obligation to help but should as far as possible assist. Animal health personnel have, as everyone, an independent obligation to help under this section. In addition, animal health personnel have, when requested to assist, an obligation to help under the Act concerning animal health personnel § 14..
The obligation to help applies for all animals which are covered by this Act. An individual’s obligation to help is limited only by the individual’s abilities and practical feasibility. This must be evaluated based on the actual situation for example, if it is possible to move the animal, whether there is transport available and whether it is practically feasible to obtain necessary help. The requirement for action is related to the danger of stresses and strain. Constant and intense stresses and strains may demand significant action. In many cases the obligation to help will be satisfied by alerting the owner, police, local government or the wild life protection board.
The type of help which is required must be assessed in a short term perspective. The help required can be for example to release an animal that is stuck or trapped in a building, or to take the animal to a veterinarian. Killing will put an end to suffering even though treatment could cure the animal. Killing must therefore be considered necessary and/or appropriate help in many cases, particularly with regards to wild animals and animals whose owner is unknown. In the case of wild animals it is important that the convalescence period does not subject the animal to significant stresses. In addition, the animal must be able to master a return to nature. It is not adequate that the animal can continue to live in captivity. When deciding whether or not to kill a wild animal, regard should be had to whether the animal is of a threatened species.
The second sentence of the first article states that if it is impossible to provide adequate help, and the animal is a large wild game or must be assumed to come from a holding, the owner or police should be alerted immediately. Tame reindeer are to be considered to be animals from holdings.
The sections second article provides the right, but not an obligation, to kill the animal in cases where the person who found the animal considers it obvious that the animal will not survive or recover. The majority of lay people would prefer not to kill any but very small animals, and often the necessary knowledge or equipment to facilitate appropriate treatment will not be available. The obligation to help can then consist of obtaining a competent person who can kill the animal, or delivering the animal to a veterinarian.
If the animal is from a holding or is a large wild game, it must not be killed if it is possible to alert the owner, a veterinarian or the police within reasonable time. The length of time which should be considered reasonable will be assessed based on the level of suffering to the animal caused by waiting time. If it is unclear whether the animal is from a holding or is a large wild game, the person who discovers the animal must try to contact the owner, a veterinarian or the police.
The third article states that necessary expenses for action under this Section shall be covered by the state. The expenses, paid by the State, related to action can be recovered from the animal keeper or the owner. The right to claim back expenses is appropriate when there is an obligation to help. The term “necessary expenses” is used in order to somewhat limit the obligation to cover expenses. In other words, the State will not be obliged to cover expenses for actions other than those necessary to limit an acute problem, such as possible expenses for killing an animal. This covers for example reasonable expenses for transport to the nearest veterinarian, making calls or travelling to alert. Those who help the animal are required to claim the expenses from the state. The State in this case is The Food Safety Authority. Expenses for basic veterinary inspection to assess the animal’s condition, acute first aid or killing by a veterinarian can be claimed by the veterinarian under the Act concerning animal health personnel. Extended inspections to determine an exact diagnosis is not covered. Further treatment by a veterinarian must be covered by the owner or other possessor.
The fourth article applies the duty to help to any person who has injured an animal. The requirements in the first and second paragraph apply equally for those that injure animals. A person responsible for injury to an animal may not claim reimbursement of expenses for action taken.
The fifth article provides the legal basis for the issuing of more specific regulations regarding covering of expenses. This will allow the determination of rates and guidelines for the reimbursement of expenses.
With regard to § 5. Duty to alert
This regulation applies to all. The duty to alert under the first article applies when anyone who has reason to believe that an animal is exposed to mistreatment or serious neglect regarding the environment, supervision or care. This duty applies to a justified suspicion of a situation which represents a serious breach of the animal welfare Act. The duty to alert does not take precedence over other legal requirements with regard to confidentiality. Animal health personnel have the duty to alert under this section as stated in the Act relating to animal health personnel § 21 first article nr 5 § 1.
The second article introduces a duty to alert for anyone who becomes aware that a large number of wild or stray animals are exposed to sickness, injury or other suffering. The obligation applies even if the Act is not breached. Which situations that can be considered abnormal will be subject to an discretionary evaluation. Examples are where many animals are affected by an oil spill, or significant animal suffering occurs in connection with rock fall, flooding and contagious animal disease outbreaks. It is appropriate that the animal welfare and countryside management authorities, and possibly other relevant authorities, in cooperation assess the need for action. It will be appropriate to have regard for the strain on the animal, cost of the action and to what extent the action will be significant for the survival of an endangered stock. Healthy and/or sick or injured stray cats are neither defined as wild nor owned. In the case of an alert concerning a large number of stray cats who are suffering for example from hunger, thirst, sickness or injury, the relevant authorities should assess the situation and take appropriate action.
With regard to § 6. Competence and responsibility
Competence includes both knowledge and abilities. The first article is applicable to the animal keeper. The “animal keeper” includes both the owner and the individual who has responsibility for the animal when the owner is unable to practice his responsibilities as an owner, for example the person responsible for animal transport, slaughterhouse etc. The animal keeper’s responsibility to ensure that an appropriate number of appropriately qualified personnel are present is a requirement which has particular significance when considering developments towards one man operations, increasing scale of production and the use of increasingly advanced technology. The Council of Europe’s Conventions and recommendations contain requirements regarding appropriate numbers of appropriately qualified personnel.
The second sentence of the first article is aimed at persons who do not have direct or formal responsibility for the animal, but due to their activity they are able to influence the welfare of an animal, for example hunters, trappers and fishermen. These shall have the competence necessary to carry out the activity in an appropriate way with respect to animal welfare. The requirement applies to any person who kills an animal, except when there is an emergency situation and it is not feasible to apply the requirement.
The requirement for competence will not apply in all situations where people are in contact with animals. It is not appropriate to apply the requirement to a person who coincidently comes into contact with an animal, for example a person that discovers and helps a trapped animal.
The competence requirement applies to animal keeping, handling, moving, transporting, killing, hunting, trapping and fishing, and includes both wild and tame animals. Which competence is required should be determined in the light of the Act’s substantive requirements where, as a main principle, animals shall be treated well and be protected from danger of unnecessary stresses and strains.
The second article requires that carers may not allow children younger than 16 years of age to have independent responsibility for animals. Carers will, under this section, have the overall responsibility for the child’s animal keeping until they reach 16 years of age and can take over the formal responsibility.
The third article bans the transfer of animals to people if there is reason to believe that they cannot or will not treat the animal in an appropriate way. The ban applies to all situations where animals are transferred to others within the Act’s geographical area of application. The regulation must be enforced within the framework of international treaties regarding trading of animals across international borders.
The fourth article provides the legal basis for issuing specific regulations. In many industries there has for some time been a regulatory requirement regarding formal education (training). One example is a requirement for a formal qualification for animal transport drivers who transport land animals, and for the commercial slaughter of land animals and fish. Equivalent requirements for the commercial transport of fish are being developed. There has for a long time been a requirement for documentation of competence in the regulation regarding professional trading in animals, and such requirements for a formal competence is becoming more common in the animal keeping industry.
The actual content of such requirements for formal competence is expected to be determined in connection with concrete regulation. [Directions from the Parliament are that: Production animal keepers, born after 1980, shall have documented, formal competence in animal keeping. As an alternative to education in vocational schools, less extensive courses shall be recognised to give sufficient competence for animal keeping. Passed agronomy education shall be considered sufficient to fulfil all formal competence requirements to keep animals. Vocational education, in accordance with teaching plans set by the government, must satisfy public regulations for the profession. It is important to increase and develop existing competence to meet coming changes is animal husbandry. Up to date competence is of great value to the individual farmer and to the farming industry.]
The ministry has no concrete plans to require formal competence for the keeping of pet animals. The section does, however, allow for the introduction of a formal competence also outside commercial animal keeping. This could include a requirement for tuition and proof of tuition.
The legal basis to issue further regulations covers regulations regarding the approval for example of an education scheme. Regulations regarding the requirement for the authorisation of personnel will also be covered. This may for instance be relevant for training and dressage, teaching activities or other service provision which may involve a particular risk regarding animals’ welfare.
With regard to § 7. Requirement for registration or approval
This regulation gives authority to issue regulations regarding requirements for establishment, placement, development and the conduct of activities covered by the Act, including the approval and withdrawal of approval, reporting, registration and certification and withdrawal of certification.
The regulation provides for the possibility for legislative requirements regarding registration or approval to use buildings or particular methods and equipment to be able to practise certain forms of animal keeping and activities such as animal transport, boarding kennels, boarding of and re-homing of animals for a consideration or free of charge, zoos, equestrian centres, rental of animals, aquacultural farming and slaughterhouses. The regulation will also provide a legal basis for possible future requirements regarding registration or approval, e.g. registration of or approval for running a pest control business.
The regulation will in the first instance be aimed at commercial animal keeping or animal keeping of a certain scale. It is not, however, intended to introduce registration or approval schemes for general keeping of pet animals.
The current Animal Protection Act contains provisions requiring approval and certification for certain activities. It is appropriate therefore to continue these certification schemes in regulations made under this section. This applies for example to approvals for the running of animal boarding kennels and trade and rental of animals.
A registration or approval which has been given, based on other considerations than animal welfare, will not normally contain the necessary conditions within the scope of this Act. An enforcement body which enforces several pieces of legislation concerning several aspects is expected to consolidate the registration and approval schemes conveniently for the industry in such a way that a consolidated registration can apply for several activities.
With regard to § 8. Industrial methods, equipment and technical solutions
The first article specifies a responsibility for the animal keeper to ensure that methods, equipment and technical solutions which are applied to animals shall be suitable for the purpose of ensuring good animal welfare. This applies regardless of whether the type of industrial method, equipment or technical solution is in common use or not.
This regulation is intended to cover aspects of industrial methods, equipment and technical solutions, which there is reason to believe may influence animal welfare. This includes for example industrial methods, production methods, fittings and equipment such as restraining and imprisonment systems, furnishing, ventilation equipment, milking machines, manure pit ventilation, technical solutions for smoltification, feeding systems, water treatment and equipment for the passive transport of animals through pipe and pumping systems. The term “methods” includes also for example dressage and training methods and including performance and production enhancing aids. The use of training methods is also regulated by the section concerning training, showing and competitions. With regard to methods, equipment, and technical solutions in connection with medical and surgical treatment, reference is made to the section of this Act which covers these particular issues.
The regulation does not imply a duty to immediately remove solutions/equipment which the individual animal keeper is using and which is commonly in use in Norwegian animal husbandry, even if it is no longer regarded as suitable from an animal welfare perspective and is therefore no longer sold or marketed. A concrete evaluation should however be done to establish the suitability in the individual case. The conclusion of such an evaluation may be that the individual animal keeper must replace, improve or change the relevant methods, equipment and technical solutions in order to satisfy the regulatory requirements.. The measure of suitability should be carried out on all new investments and replacements.
In the case of the authorities requiring a general change in industrial methods, methods, equipment and technical solutions which are in use, it will be necessary to introduce regulations under the third article. The same applies to general bans on using certain operating modes, methods, equipment and technical solutions.
The second article requires that any person who markets or trades in new industrial methods, equipment and technical solutions which are used for animals or animal keeping shall ensure they are tested and found to be suitable with regard to animal welfare. The term “new” refers to industrial methods, methods, equipment and technical solutions which have not previously been used in Norwegian animal husbandry. Therefore, this regulation does not apply to industrial methods, methods, equipment and technical solutions which are already in common use, but only to those that are developed and introduced on the market. The control authorities will have the right to request information and documentation which is relevant for the control authorities’ control irrespective of whether regulations with requirements for suitability have been introduced or not.
The third article delegates authority to issues specific regulations regarding industrial methods, equipment and technical solutions. It is for instance possible to issue a ban against use and trade in certain industrial methods, equipment and technical solutions, as well as regulations regarding approval and documentation regarding suitability. Requirements for information and user instructions can also be made.
With regard to § 9. Medical and surgical treatment
The first article regarding medical and surgical treatment covers i.a. methods for inspection and diagnosis, vaccinations, pharmaceutical treatment, surgical incision and other therapeutic methods. The term surgical incision means treatment which involves perforation of skin or mucous membrane including crushing of tissue. The term includes both surgery, acupuncture, injections and other perforation of skin in connection with vaccination, sampling and administration of medicines and fluids. The definition is in accordance with the act concerning animal health personnel §18 first article nr 2.
The requirement that all medical and surgical treatment shall protect the animal’s ability to function and its quality of life involves a duty to choose a form of treatment which is suitable to protect the specific animal’s ability to function and its quality of life. If there is doubt as to whether the treatment can be carried out in a satisfactory way, and is suitable to maintain the animal’s ability to function and its quality of life, it may be necessary to kill the animal. The view as to what can be considered as acceptable practice which is appropriate to protect the animal’s ability to function and its quality of life, will probably change over time and will be influenced by knowledge, available methods and sociological attitudes.
The act concerning animal health personnel provides the exclusive right for authorised animal health personnel to carry out various forms of medical and surgical treatment. It states in the act concerning animal health personnel §18 that the majority of interventions shall take place under supervision of a veterinarian or fish health biologist.
The first sentence of the second article states that with few exceptions surgical incision or removal of body parts must not be carried out unless it is done for the reason of the animal’s health. Currently, such incisions can only be carried out by authorised animal health personnel. Even when carried out for health reasons, there will be limitations with respect to which incisions which can be considered appropriate under the requirement in the first article for incisions to protect the animal’s ability to function and its quality of life.
Examples of incisions which do not have sufficient justification under this section are, amputations for aesthetic reasons(ear and tale docking), amputation to maintain slaughter value where the animals’ quality of life suffers as a result of the amputation (for example amputation of a damaged hoof), amputations to adapt the animal to the need of man (for example the removal of ferrets’ scent glands, removal of cats’ claws, clipping of birds’ wings (not including trimming of feathers) and amputations to adapt the animal to industrial conditions (for example the burning/removal of beaks from poultry, clipping of pigs’ teeth). Other examples are incision for cosmetic reasons (for example piercing) and incisions which do not involve the removal of a body part but still hinders the animal’s normal behaviour or causes discomfort (for example nose rings on pigs).
There will, however, be incisions which for various reasons can be approved despite there being no animal health benefits, for example the attaching of a ring in a bull’s nose. This could be approved by regulation as under the last article of this section.
The second article, second sentence represents an exception to the main rule with respect to the marking of animals. The requirement for appropriate marking is provided for under the Acts section concerning the marking of animals.
The second article, third sentence represents an exception to the main rule with respect to the removal of horns and castration. The term “castration” means a surgical incision which removes the reproduction capabilities from both male and female animals.
In addition to when the animal’s health makes it appropriate to remove horns or castrate, the regulation provides the possibility to carry out such incisions when it is necessary from an animal welfare perspective or other particular reasons. An animal welfare perspective can be associated both to the welfare of the actual animal and to the flock of which the animal is a member. For example, the removal of horns can prevent injuries to other animals or make it possible for male castrated animals to be outside and graze and enable castrated tame reindeer to keep the flock together and ease access to food.
The term “other specific reasons” means situations which are not relevant to the animal’s welfare, but as a result of other necessary reasons, the incision is justifiable. An example of this can be castration of piglets to avoid boar taint and taste until satisfactory alternatives to surgical castration are available, and castration of guide dogs and stallions. The castration of cats is considered to have both animal welfare and other particular justification, for example the regulation of populations of homeless cats. In order to limit the extent of surgical castration for animal welfare reasons or other specific reasons, it can be appropriate to issue regulations which describe specifically the conditions for castrating, and possibility to castrate animals.
What should be regarded as “specific reasons” should, in the first instance, be decided by the person who carries out the incision after consultation with the instigator. With regard to castration of pets, the opinion of the pet’s owner will be significant.
The third article requires, in the case of painful incision, necessary anaesthetic and pain relief shall be used. This applies in direct connection with the incision, and to the convalescence period insofar as there is a need for such follow up. Surgical castration should be considered as a painful incision which requires necessary anaesthetisation and pain relief.
The fourth article delegates authority to issue specific regulations regarding medical and surgical treatment, including banning certain forms of such treatment and make exceptions from the second article of this section. Examples would be to issue regulations concerning the removal of horns, castration of animals, removal of other body parts and use of medical or surgical treatment to compensate for an insufficient living environment for animals.
With regard to § 10. Identity marking of animals
There are many instances in which where there is a need to mark animals. The first article sets a general requirement for appropriate marking of animals. The term marking means a change to the animals appearance or the placement of objects on the animal in order to facilitate the identification of the animal, make knowledge of the animal’s owner available or to register where the animal is situated. The section should be interpreted with regard to the Act’s section regarding medical and surgical treatment.
There is a wide range of marking methods. The main requirement for marking is that it is appropriate and it shall not subject the animal to behavioural limitations or unnecessary stresses and strain. An example of a method which would not be considered as appropriate would be marking by branding using heat or freezing with the exception of marking on parts of the body where pain cannot be felt such as the hoof, claw, shell or horn. As a main rule, the removal of body parts will not be considered as appropriate marking. Mandatory marking methods under the Act concerning reindeer operations are, however, allowed for tame reindeer. Both the design, size, weight, placement and the danger of sores and injuries could result in behavioural limitations.
The type of marking that could be considered appropriate must be interpreted in the light current knowledge and can be defined in specific regulation under the second article.
The second article delegates authority which provides for issuing specific regulations regarding the marking of animals including requiring and forbidding marking. Regulations for marking of animals will also apply to conditions for and procedures for use of certain marking methods. This will for example be relevant in the case of simple management marking of wild animals. In addition regulations may be issued concerning mandatory registration of animals in a register, and determine who shall have access to such a register. The regulation could for example introduce a marking requirement and register for marked cats as a stage in the work to reduce populations of stray cats. Regulations may also be issued for unmarked animals to be re-homed to another keeper or killed without compensation to the individual who may claim to be the owner. This makes it possible to re-home or kill for example stray and homeless cats without liability for damages to the previous owners of the animal.
With regard to § 11. Transportation
The first article defines that transport shall take place in such a way as to ensure least possible strain for the animal and that the animal shall only be transported when it is in such a condition that it is justifiable to complete the whole journey. The term “transport” means the process from loading, transporting, stopping en route, until unloading is completed. This applies to all animals including pets and hobby animals. It is a condition that transportation of an animal can take place in an appropriate way for the animal. Consideration should be given to the animals’ health and condition, imminent or recent birth etc. sick animals should only be transported when it is probable that such an action is the best alternative for the animal for example it may be necessary to transport an animal to a competent person for slaughter.
The length of time for transport can influence animal welfare and shall therefore be within reasonable limits. Reasonable limits can be described more specifically in regulations. The definition of reasonable limits will change subject to knowledge development and international legislative developments. It should be a general aim that animal transport should not last longer than necessary. Before every transport the animal’s ability and possibility to complete the transport should be assessed. This is dependent on both conditions with regard to environment (climate both at point of departure and arrival), type of transport (ventilation, number of animals, transport time) and the condition of the animal (level of tameness, age, condition and health).
The second article requires that the means of transport is to be suitable with regard to the safety of the animal. This involves for example that it should be constructed in such a way that the material or solutions are appropriate for the actual use and do not represent a danger of trapping or other injury. In the case of transport of several animals it should be possible, if necessary, to separate the animals with dividing walls. It is also important that the method of transport is adapted to the weather and driving conditions which are encountered during transport in such a way as to ensure the animals are assured the correct climatic conditions and least possible vibration. Loading and unloading shall be adapted to avoid unnecessary stress, fear or discomfort for the animal.
During transport the animals shall have necessary supervision and care in order to discover and prevent unwanted situations. The requirement involves for example that the person responsible for transport shall ensure that the animals receive adequate air, correct temperature, adequate space, and is offered food and water where there is a need.
The third article provides for issuing specific regulations regarding transportation of animals.
With regard to § 12. Killing of animals
The first article defines a general duty of care that applies when killing animals. It defines that the killing of animals, and handling in connection with the killing, including stunning, shall take place having regard to the animals’ welfare. What should be considered an appropriate killing method will depend on current knowledge regarding i.a. the animal species, development level and the various killing methods. In the case of a lack of concrete knowledge regarding the application of a method to a particular species, it will be necessary to exercise caution in the choice of method. Responsible killing also requires that the person responsible for the killing has the necessary competence, ref. the Act’s section regarding competence. Unilateral focus upon the killing itself can involve reduced welfare during the killing. This is due to the environment or treatment of the animals not being optimal or adapted in a suitable way. For example fear as a result of force or environmental factors can result in greater strain than the killing itself. It is therefore specifically stated in the Act that handling in connection with the killing, shall also take place having regard to the animals’ welfare.
The consideration of what can be regarded appropriate with regard to animal welfare during killing will vary, depending on whether the killing takes place in a holding or in connection with hunting or trapping. The same requirements for precision and carefulness cannot for example be applied to killing in connection with hunting, fishing or trapping as to the killing of farmed animals. However, the methods used should have respect for animal welfare. In cases where fish are taken out one by one, it is possible to kill it immediately. For example, when fishing with a line, it is relatively normal to cut the throat of cod and pollock. Immediate killing will often not be practical to carry out when catching wild fish in large numbers.
The first article, second paragraph shall ensure that equipment used is suitable for the purpose and maintained. This is to limit and hinder failure which results from shortcomings, wear etc. Such weaknesses can cause significant injury to an animal. The relationship between the requirement for competence in the Act’s section concerning competence and responsibility shall ensure that the method works in such a way that it stuns and kills all animals in an appropriate way.
“Anyone using” means any person who uses the equipment and the person responsible for the killing, for example the responsible person at the slaughterhouse.
The killing shall also be appropriate in the case hunting, trapping, and the fishing of wild stock. This requires that for example equipment which is used for hunting, trapping and fishing must be suitable and maintained. The requirement concerning stunning equipment is normally not relevant in connection with such activities because the requirement for stunning before killing only applies to animals from holdings as stated in the second article.
The second article applies only to animals from holdings. It applies both to land animals and aquatic animals. It is required that animals are stunned prior to killing unless the animal is killed using a method which provides for immediate loss of consciousness. The requirement for stunning before killing shall ensure that animals from holdings are in an unconscious state before killing starts and until death occurs. This involves i.a. that it is not sufficient for the animal to be stunned up to for example the point of cutting or stabbing. To ensure compliance the killing process should be carried out as quickly as possible whilst the animal is stunned.
The stunning method shall be appropriate with respect to animal welfare, ref. the first article of this Section, and provide unconsciousness without pain. This involves for example that the method shall work immediately or have an induction phase which does not subject the animal to significant discomfort.
The fourth sentence of the second article, establishes an obligation to check following killing that the animal is dead. This must occur before further processing for example slaughter processing. Bleeding can in many cases be a suitable method to ensure that an animal dies. The obligation to check the animal is dead applies to all animals that are killed, including where further processing does not take place immediately, for example when killing day old chicks, spent hens, sick farmed fish and other animals which are killed for destruction.
The third article regulates killing in emergency situations. This will typically be when the animal must be killed immediately because of disease, serious injury or because it is helpless for other reasons. In such a situation, the general rules for the killing of animals should be followed as closely as possible. In the case of killing in connection with an action against serious contagious diseases, the number of animals to be culled can be great, and particular attention has to be paid to the risk of contamination. It may therefore be necessary to derogate from the normal requirements for killing in those situations. It will therefore be necessary to weigh up the risk of spreading disease, against the regard for the infected animals’ welfare at the time of killing. Through emergency preparedness it is possible to, in an appropriate way, respect various aspects during such stamping out. It can also be considered as emergency killing in situations where an animal is killed to protect other animals as provided for in the Act concerning wild animals §11.
The regulation can also be used with respect to when animals are killed in compliance with the obligation to help as provided for by § 4. The individual must determine if it is appropriate for him/her to kill the animal, with consideration for the animal, the extent of the injury, his/her competence and the opportunity to contact another competent person or transport the animal to a veterinarian. If one is not competent to carry the killing appropriately, the pain for the animal can intensified.
The fourth article establishes a ban against killing an animal as an independent form of entertainment or competition. This will apply to situations where the killing itself is made into an attraction or form of competition, and is applied regardless of whether there is an audience present at the time of killing or not. Ordinary hunting, trapping and fishing does not fall within the scope of this ban. In the same way, other arrangements, where the killing is not an independent form of entertainment or competition, fall outside the scope of the ban, for example fishing competitions. Here the intention is to catch the largest fish and/or the greatest number of fish, and slaughter is a necessary consequence of the activity. Competitions for dogs during ordinary hunting periods are another example of an activity outside the scope of the ban.
The fifth article delegates authority. This allows the issue of specific regulations regarding the compliance with this section, including requirements for environment, equipment and handling in connection with killing and what can be considered as legal killing methods. For example, regulations may be issued regarding pest control. Pest control involves actions to reduce the prevalence of common pests such as mice, rats, certain birds etc. Authority is given to make exceptions to the requirements in the second article for other animal species than land animals and sea mammals. Honey bees are in this case not regarded as land animals.
With regard to § 13. The use of animals for testing, education and medical activities
The first article defines a requirement for approval regarding breeding, keeping, trading, killing, or using animals for testing, education, or in connection with medical activities. The requirement for approval does not apply when using animals for teaching during general care and handling of animals. Teaching of general care and treatment of animals means, for example, keeping animals at agricultural schools for teaching of husbandry, teaching at riding schools and dressage courses for dogs.
The requirement for approval applies both to the activity and the person responsible for the activity. The requirement for approval concerning breeding, keeping, trading and killing is limited to situations where the activity takes place in order to carry out tests, teaching or medical activities. The conditions which are placed on approval of such activity could cover situations related to all animals within a business regardless of whether all animals or their offspring are to be used for testing or are actually used for testing.
The term “use of animals for testing purposes” means the use of animals to find new or confirm known knowledge of a biological, psychological, ethological, physical or chemical nature, also where this occurs in connection with teaching. The use of animals in the production of reagents such as antigen, antibodies and similar bodies in diagnostic, control and the establishment of genetically modified stocks may also be covered by the term use of animals in connection with medical activities. The same applies in the case of the use of animals such as cloned animals to develop or produce medicines, other chemical products, or to produce living cells, tissue and organs.
Other types of testing whose aim is to find new or confirm known knowledge is also covered if it involves an incision or manipulates the animal or its environment in such a way as to create a none physiological condition.
The use of cells, tissue or organs from animals which are bred or kept with a view to them being used in testing, education or medical activities will require the same type of approval as with the use of live animals for the same purpose. The use of material from dead animals which have not been bred or kept with a view to them being used in testing, education or medical trials are not covered by the requirement for approval.
The requirement concerning approval for using animals for the teaching of other than general care, will apply to for example activities similar to testing as a part of teaching in the field of biology.
The requirement for approval will not apply to the use of animals in the clinical education of veterinarians, fish health biologists and animal care students when the animal is subject to normal treatment for sickness or injury. The equivalent applies in the case of dissection/ post-mortem examination of animals which have not been killed as part of testing. Normal activity, such as open farms, display of animals and animal keeping of a normal nature, for example animals kept in schools/kindergartens or riding tuition at a riding centre, is not regarded as use of animals in education.
Approval is given by the control authority which, under the Act’s requirements regarding control and decision, is given authority to issue such approval. In the process of evaluating whether approval shall be given, there will be a professional and ethical review of the institution and/or the activity in question. This involves a review of both if the applicant has the necessary competence, and scientific circumstances related to the tests. The evaluation should be based on which negative effect the test will have for the animals as opposed to the usefulness of the test for society. It is important to attach importance to both the physical and mental strains the animal is exposed to before and after the test/teaching lesson, if the test has a value to society, if when there is a danger of pain, objective pain parameters and adequate stunning or pain relieving medicines are used, and if there is a good chance of making definite conclusions. In order to issue approval, the applicant should provide the necessary information. Details of who will carry out the surgery, and which competence that person has, must be provided in the application.
In the case of breeding, keeping or trading of animals for testing it will be appropriate that the approval applies to a certain type of activity, and has a defined scope, validity (for example approval for running a animal testing laboratory for a certain number of years, approval for breeding and trading of animals to be used in testing). In the case of breeding, keeping and trading of animals for teaching purposes it should be possible to give more general approvals within stated limitations. More precise requirements with regard to the application procedure and conditions for approval will be issued in regulations made under the third article.
The second article requires that approval cannot be given if the intention of the testing or teaching can be achieved without the use of animals or where animals are in danger of being subjected to unnecessary stresses or strains. The requirement also requires that it is not allowed to use more animals than necessary and that the animals should be put under as little strain as possible. This is in accordance with the general principles for good testing practice where one shall seek alternatives to the use of animals (replacement), use of as few animals as possible (reduction) and goal orientated and improved testing (refinement).
Alternatives to animal testing can for example be the use of software programmes, models and cell cultures. Reduction can be achieved by having a more critical attitude to the use of animals, partly by using available data and partly through planning and calculating before the actual animal testing takes place. The final point can contribute to describing the goal. The improvement of an animal’s situation can also be achieved through concrete actions which improve housing conditions (adequate space, correct level of light, opportunity for movement, opportunity for concealment and occupation) and focus on the use of sedatives and painkilling medicines if the animal is subjected to strains which demand this course of action. It is also required under the EEA treaty that there is requirement for the use anaesthetic or pain relief or other suitable methods to ensure that pain, suffering, stress and injury are limited and that animals under no circumstances are subjected to significant pain stress or suffering.
The third article requires that the control authority in approvals made under the first article can make exceptions from the Act 15 June 2001 nr. 15 regarding veterinary surgeons ad other animal health personnel § 18 first article nr. 3 so that others than veterinarians or fish health biologists can implement total or local stunning of an animal. Such actions are appropriate where the person carrying out the test has the necessary competence to ensure the stunning and subsequent surgery can be completed with equivalent consideration for the animals welfare as that which would be expected of a veterinary surgeon or fish biologist if they where responsible for the activity.
The fourth article delegates responsibility which provides for specific regulations regarding animal testing, teaching and medical activities and the banning of certain types of species and types of testing. Apes have not been used for testing in Norway for many years. The ministry is of the opinion that there should be particularly significant reasons for the use of apes in testing and will evaluate the need for regulation concerning this. The ministry is also of the opinion that animals shall not be used for testing of cosmetics or similar products, and this may also be specified in regulations.
The paragraph provides for regulations to determine exemptions from the requirement for approval. This is provided to primarily apply to certain types of activity which from an interpretation of the paragraph are covered by the requirement but by virtue of the nature of the activity being of little significance to the animal that it would be unreasonable to require specific approval, ref. the current regulation concerning animal testing § 2.
The fifth article provides for making regulations to define exemptions from the Act’s material requirements concerning the use of animals in testing. An example would be many tests not having the indication which is demanded under the section regarding medical and surgical treatment. There shall be, however, particular reasons for such exemptions and it must be established that other methods cannot contribute towards gaining the desired results.
With regard to § 14. Specific Bans
The first article letter a) applies to violence and violent treatment which under general sociological standards would be unacceptable. The central aspect is that an individual shall not, intentionally or unintentionally, subject an animal to stress and strain, or subject the animal to treatment that causes aversive reactions, which is not necessary with respect to the animal or other legitimate intentions.
Violence can result in stresses and strains of a physical and mental character. Examples of such physical stresses and strains are pain and injury. Violence will often be both mental and physical, but the animal can also be frightened and stressed without the use of physical violence. Examples of stresses and strains of mental nature are uneasiness, fear, anxiety, stress and other mental stresses or changes which can result in reduced welfare.
Violence can include beating, kicking, pinching, biting, burning, freezing, use of equipment, unnecessary force and to work an animal too hard etc. The illegal use of use of painful dressage or training agents can be an example of violence against animals. Physical violence includes actions which can result in both internal and external injury on the body.
Letter b) includes cases where an animal is left in a helpless condition or is left alone in a situation where it is not capable of looking after itself. An example can be keeping an animal locked in a vehicle, where the air quality and/or temperature represent a significant strain. Another example is if the animal is left alone inside or outside in connection with a long period of absence or for the purpose of disposing of the animal. In the same way, releasing other people’s animals so as they are left to themselves could be covered by this regulation. In cases where such release does not render the animal in a helplessness situation, this may fall under the Act’s general requirement regarding the release of animals into nature. The regulation will also cover situations where a person denies necessary help to animals he or she has injured.
Letter c) covers sexual relations and sexual actions with animals and includes actions which do not subject the animal to any form of stress or strain. This applies irrespective of the animal’s sex or which reproductive cycle phase it is in. The key area for the section is people’s use of animals to gain personal sexual fulfilment in one form or another. The Criminal Code’s requirements regarding sex crime, and interpretation of these, will give guidance regarding the assessment of whether the activity can be considered to be forbidden. In the same way as in the Criminal Code, it is not a necessary condition that the activity is sexually motivated. Violence against animals in connection with sexual activity could be regulated by both this section and the section regarding violence. The removal of semen, insemination and other necessary procedures in connection with breeding and reproduction are not considered as sexual activity under this section. With regards to animal pornography, it will be actions against the animal which will be covered by this section. In addition, reference is made to the Criminal Code’s regulations regarding pornography.
Letter d) bans the use of living animals as feed or bait for other animals. An example would be the use of live mice and rats as feed for snakes. The use of live animals as food for people will be subject to other requirements, including the requirement for violence. Animals which are not covered by the act’s scope are not protected under this ban. An example would be mussels and earthworms.
With regard to § 15. Buildings, fences and other minor installations.
The first article applies to buildings, fences and other minor installations which can represent a risk to the welfare of an animal, regardless of whether or not it is primarily set up or arranged with regard to animals or animal keeping. There is a general obligation to design, build and maintain such installations in such a way as to not subject the animal to unnecessary stresses and strains. Existing fences, including those with barbed wire, must be maintained. The regulation prohibiting the use of barbed wire in fences in order to regulate traffic of animals, includes a ban against using barbed wire for repairs of old fencing where such wire is present. The requirement concerning maintenance includes an obligation to clear away remains when buildings, fences or installations are no longer in use.
The requirement should not be interpreted in such a way as to limit desired community development, but it defines an obligation to implement necessary action to reduce the danger of unnecessary stresses and strains to animals when buildings and fences etc. are erected. The requirement involves i.a. that one shall, where possible, seek to avoid subjecting the animal to unnecessary injury. This can be done through the choice of alternative materials, design etc. For example, in connection with the securing of scaffolding, one should not use material where birds can become trapped.
The responsibility with regards to animal welfare held by the person responsible for interventions etc. does not reduce the responsibility held by the animal’s owner. The animal keeper hall protect his own animals from danger, even though the danger is a result of an action taken by a person responsible for an intervention etc. who fails to comply with the requirements under this regulation.
The first article, second sentence lays down an absolute ban against the use of barbed wire in farm animal fencing and other fencing which is used to regulate traffic of animals. This applies regardless of whether the fence is in a home field or outlying field. The use of barbed wire in fences which are not intended to limit the movement of animal must be assessed in light of the general requirements in the first and second article. The requirement involves a ban against the use of barbed wire to regulate traffic of animals when new fences are constructed.
The second article regarding supervision of buildings, fences and fittings must be assessed in a concrete manner and the requirement for supervision must reflect the level of danger of tresses and strains. Significant danger of serious stresses and strains will in principle require more extensive supervision.
The third article delegates responsibility which provides for specific regulations. It may for example be relevant to issues specific regulations concerning huts, cabins, mountain pastures etc. and fences, ref. the former Animal Protection Act §§ 28 and 29. It is not planned to introduce specific regulation containing technical building requirements. If it is necessary to have such requirements with regard to animal welfare, this must be coordinated with other sector regulations in the area and the responsible authority for that sector.
Provision is also made to ban other types of installations than barbed wire fences for animal welfare reasons. The obligation to repair or remove installations, and/or remains of such, may be regulated more specifically. The requirement to remove existing barbed wire which can influence the animals’ movement will be introduced based on the provisions in the third article. There is further a provision for exemption from the ban for using barbed wire in fencing to regulate traffic of animals. Municipal regulations regarding the use of barbed wire, ratified by the ministry in line with the Act 20 December 1974 nr. 73 concerning Animal Protection, will apply until they are repealed by regulation under this provision, ref this Act’s § 40.
With regard to § 16. Traceability
The first article delegates power to issue regulations regarding traceability of animals or animal products for animal welfare reasons.
Traceability means the obligation to identify each person one has received the actual animal or product from, and an obligation to be able to identify who one has delivered the animal or product to. These details shall be made available to the control authority upon request.
The provision is introduced primarily to have the opportunity to implement possible future regulation of traceability for animal welfare reasons that could be incorporated in the EEA Agreement. An equivalent requirement is contained within the food legislation. Such requirements may, however, be regarded desirable or necessary from a purely national perspective.
The requirements for traceability should, as far as possible, be adapted to the purpose for which they are intended, and not place greater burdens upon the operations/responsible person than necessary to ensure a functional system for traceability.
The second article provides for issuing regulations regarding labelling of products which originate from animals. Labelling is all information on or related to the product.
There is a provision for setting conditions in connection with mandatory or voluntary labelling schemes. Certain labelling schemes in other areas of EEA legislation are voluntary, but if one chooses to use them, a series of mandatory requirements and obligations are applicable.
With regard to § 17. Trading etc. in animal products
The regulation enables the limitation or banning of production, trading, use, import and export of products from animals which are covered by the Act. The terms trading, import and export cover all transfers or border crossings regardless of whether payment is made. Conditions can be laid down relating to trading, import and export, in addition to requirements for which information which must follow the product. Regulations can be made to encourage good animal welfare or respect for animals, and to comply with international obligations. The power to issue regulations must be utilised in line with the limitations imposed by international agreements which regulate trade and which Norway has ratified.
The central issue from a trade perspective is that any action is not more of a barrier to trade than is necessary to achieve the objective.
If regard to human rights, for example the right to religious practice, demands access to products which according to this Act are illegal to produce in Norway, such products will not be banned for import or trading in Norway.
The import and export of animal products is also regulated by regulation 15 November 2002 nr 1276 concerning the implementation of the convention 3 March 1973 on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
With regard to § 18. Access to property and the obligation to assist
The first article: Unhindered access is defined as the control authorities having the right to be given access at all times to places and buildings. This right applies to all sites where there is reason to believe that animals are kept, or other activity covered by this Act takes place. The right of access applies regardless of whether or not animals are actually kept there at that specific time. The intention is to protect the need to inspect rooms etc. where the owner claims there are no animals. At the same time there may be a need for an inspection even though the animal is not there at the time of inspection. Information regarding how an animal dwelling is designed, maintained etc. may provide information regarding the conditions for animals that have been kept or will be kept in the animal dwelling. The right to unhindered access also covers the opportunity to inspect physical objects, for example the contents of a medicine cabinet.
The term in the second sentence “not given unhindered access” means both the occasions where the responsible person actively denies access and the occasions when the control authority, using reasonable effort, cannot contact the responsible person who can give access in time. Hence, the right to access applies regardless of whether the animal keeper or another responsible person is present or not.
The control authority will, however, not be able to gain access through locked doors to gain access in the event of the owner or other responsible persons being absent. In such cases the assistance of the police is necessary. The control authority’s right to unhindered access under the first sentence does not give the right to the use of force in cases where the owner is present but denies access. In these cases police assistance is also necessary. Cases of necessity must be evaluated with respect to general legal requirements regarding the principle of necessity.
In addition, the practice of the right to access must have consideration for an individual’s private life. Inspections in private homes where no form of business which is subject to registration under this Act takes place is regarded relevant only in cases where there is reason to believe that animals are exposed to unnecessary stresses or strains.
The police are under the first article, third sentence, given the same right to access as the control authority in cases where they are requested to assist by the control authority.
The requirement concerning the participation of foreign inspectors under the first article, fourth sentence, is a continuation of current legislation and result of international obligations, ref. the EEA Agreement.
The control authority can otherwise bring experts along on inspections, but must then prove that the experts represent the control authority. There may be a need to have personnel that have a particular knowledge of a particular animal species or form of animal keeping (veterinarian, ethologist, building specialist). This will improve the opportunity to provide information that is relevant to the case.
The second article introduces an obligation for the person being controlled to provide, free of charge, necessary premises, furniture and fixtures, assistance and equipment for the carrying out of a control and, otherwise provide help to facilitate the control. “Necessary premises” means those of the existing premises which are necessary for the control authority’s work. The requirement is relevant for example when the control authority needs to take pictures, weigh an animal, remove animal material in order to get an overview over, and document, the actual conditions.
With regard to § 19. Obligation to provide information, documentation and control activities
The first article introduces an obligation for the animal keeper and other persons under obligations under this Act to provide or send information as demanded by the control authority.
The obligation to provide information includes the provision, securing and preproduction of information required by the control authority. The requirement regarding information can be presented verbally without previous notice. The control authority can demand the information which is of relevance to describe the animal welfare conditions, including demanding access to documents.
The first article, second sentence, extends the obligation to include others who may hold relevant information. This will first and foremost apply to persons who through practicing of their profession have information regarding other persons’ animal keeping or handling of animals. The obligation to provide information is limited to information which the control authority needs with regards to a specific case. The general public’s obligations are limited to that covered by the obligation to alert in § 5.
The information under this requirement also includes information regarding the location of animals. Such an obligation to inform is naturally related to the right of access under the Act’s requirement concerning access to premises and to provide help. The requirement will contribute to animals not being concealed from control by the control authority not receiving necessary information regarding the location of an animal.
The second article delegates power to issue regulations concerning the obligation to provide information and duty to report. It also provides the power to require systematic control measures and systems to ensure this. The term systematic control measure can cover a requirement concerning self assessment and internal control, but offers a larger spectre of opportunities with regard to the choice of method in order to confirm and document compliance than the term internal control. Such registrations can be necessary to carry out control of measures intended to prevent fire, ensuring ventilation, ensuring feed and water, adequate supervision and similar measures. Provisions regarding internal control are most suited to the keeping of production animals and other commercial animal keeping, and less suited to the keeping of pets and hobby animals.
With regard to § 20. Hunting, catching and fishing
The first article requires that hunting, catching and fishing shall be carried out in such a way as to be conducive with appropriate animal welfare. What can be defined as appropriate animal welfare is dependent upon which species is being hunted, trapped or fished. Generally, it will not be considered appropriate to hunt for animals in the breeding period, when the young are dependent on their parents to survive.
The Act regarding wild game provides for regulation of which methods and equipment can be used for hunting etc. The requirements for humane hunting are contained within the legislation concerning wild game. Therefore, the hunting and trapping methods which are legal under the Act concerning wild game will also be appropriate under the Animal Welfare Act. Certain hunting and trapping methods are forbidden, for example the use of poisonous bait without specific approval, self firing trap, certain forms of trap and snare trapping and hunting with bow an arrow. Such methods can represent a risk of subjecting the animal to injury without killing immediately, and is specifically regulated in the legislation concerning wild game.
In the case of fishing, one does not have adequate knowledge regarding the suitability of all fishing methods with regard to the protection of fish welfare. In the case of catching wild fish in large scale, it may be difficult to set the same requirements for considerate killing as when the animal is caught individually. However, trapping methods which as far as possible maintain regard for appropriate killing of fish should be used.
In the light of new knowledge, certain hunting, trapping and fishing methods which are generally used today could be considered as inappropriate in the future.
The shooting, on animal welfare grounds, of stray tame animals or animals which have been accidentally trapped in nature etc. is not considered as hunting but as killing under § 12.
The second article delegates responsibility to provide regulation concerning hunting, trapping and fishing, including the possibility of setting conditions for hunting famed game which have been released into nature. It will also be possible to introduce requirements for individual hunting, trapping and fishing devices.
The third article provides power to regulate hunting, trapping and fishing of kept animals. Physical containment is not necessary to define an animal as being kept. Animals which are owned and which are subject to a certain extent of supervision and care (feeding, sickness prevention, breeding,) are considered kept animals. Animals which are released to be wild as part of a wild game policy, are not considered as being kept. Animals in captivity will often not have the same opportunities as wild animals to escape in hunting, trapping and fishing situations. Regulation under this requirement shall ensure that the activity takes place in an environment which is close to a natural environment for the animals so as not to expose them to unnecessary strains. It is also possible that specific requirements be set for keeping and the environment in which the animal is held in, for example requirements for space and operational routines.
The hunting, trapping or fishing of kept animals will not be covered by the ban in § 12 regarding the killing of animals as an independent entertainment or competitive element.
With regard to § 21. Capturing of animals that live in the wild
The first article provides for the possibility to issue specific regulations regarding the capturing and handling of animals that live in the wild, including conditions for and prohibitions against such activities.
It will for example be relevant to set conditions for capturing and handling of animals in connection with wild game management marking, sampling and other surveillance of the stock.
Chapter II. Animal keeping
The first article defines a fundamental principle for the keeping of animals. The term keeping means short term care of an animal irrespective of time. In the case of short term care the general keeping requirements will apply as far as they are suitable. The requirements do not hinder the establishment of the keeping of new species, but sets certain limitations by requiring that the keeping of animals is only allowed if the animal can adapt to the situation in an appropriate way with regard to animal welfare. This demands particular care with regards to animals which are not used to being kept. The keeping of such animals demands that conditions are adapted in advance in order to ensure that the adjustment is not too difficult for the animal. The requirement is relevant to prevent land animals and aquatic animals from being taken from the wild and placed in zoos or aquariums without adequate consideration for the animal’s ability and possibility to adapt.
With regard to § 22. General conditions for keeping animals
The short term care of sick and injured wild animals for rehabilitation and return to the animal’s natural environment can take place within the scope of this Act’s requirements. In the case that the attempted rehabilitation subjects the animal to significant strain, there is reason to believe that the animal has little chance of surviving in the wild or will not manage again in the wild, the animal should be killed. From an animal welfare perspective it will more often be necessary to kill sick or injured wild animals than is necessary with the equivalent sickness and injury in tame animals. Both the care and time taken will often be a strain for the animal and can have an influence upon its ability to survive in the wild afterwards. Such care should therefore be short term. In the case of rare or endangered species it may with regards to other issues be necessary to accept some more significant strain and longer periods of care. The care of wild animals demands high levels of competence from the carer or that the carer has access to the necessary professional competence. Subsequent detailed regulation of such care must be harmonised with the relevant requirements in the Act concerning wild game.
The requirements apply to both species and individuals. Animal welfare is considered from the point of view of the individual animal, and there are great individual differences with respect to the ability to adapt. Some individuals do not adapt to a life in captivity, which has been observed in certain exotic birds and within deer farming. Other animals taken into captivity have also shown signs of the absence of the ability to adapt. For example, dolphins and other whales very seldom reproduce in captivity.
The second article delegates responsibility which provides for regulations which limit or ban keeping of certain animal species, races and strains. This requirement will for example, together with the provision regarding the trading of animals under § 27, provide for the continuation of regulations 20. November 1976 nr 3 concerning a ban against the import, trading or keeping of exotic animals as domestic, pets or in captivity in any other way. Based on the enormous amount and diversity of exotic animals that could be kept in Norway, it is natural to regulate import through regulations which define which species can be legally kept. The requirement provides for specific regulation related to keeping Norwegian animal.
The regulatory provision can also be used to hinder unfortunate consequences with regard to animal welfare when wild animals are caught in other countries in order to be traded in Norway, or that animals bred in captivity are imported or kept. This way one can ensure that only exotic animals for which the conditions are appropriate are being kept.
With regard to § 23. The animals’ living environment
The first article requires that the animal keeper shall ensure that animals are kept in an environment which is consistent with good welfare, and which meets the animals’ needs which are specific for both the species and the individual. The environment shall give the animals opportunity to carry out stimulating activities, movement, rest and other natural behaviour. The requirement applies to all kept animals including for example animals for testing, animals in slaughterhouses, tame reindeer, aquatic animals, wild fish kept in nets and family/hobby animals. The requirement shall protect animals as individuals. It gives general guidelines regarding design of suitable environments for the benefit of the animal, and requires that the animal’s basic environmental needs are met. Which specific requirements will vary between species, individuals, type of keeping, and will over time change subject to new knowledge. It will not be appropriate to require that short term stays at a slaughterhouse should provide the same living condition as in other forms of animal keeping. An animal’s living environment can be assessed partly based upon its behaviour. One type of welfare problem arises when an animal is motivated to behave in a particular way but can’t as a result of an unsuitable physical or social environment. This can lead to frustrations. It is therefore important to offer the animals an environment which provides space for stimulating activity and exercise of natural behaviour. This can be done for example by enhancing the environment to provide the opportunity for nest building (pigs, hens) and grooming behaviour, e.g. sand bathing, for hens.
The requirement shall ensure that animals are kept in an environment which provides good welfare and covers for example climatic conditions outside and inside. For example air quality, weather conditions, lighting, water quality for aquatic animals, seafloor/terrain, vegetation, access to food/grazing conditions, solitary/social environment, access to concealment, freedom from parasites and predators and sufficient lack of discomfort to the senses can be significant, could be of significance. The animals shall for example have adequate protection not just from cold, rain and wind in winter, but also against sun and insects in the summer. Such protection can for example take the form of a room, artificial shelter or natural shelter in the terrain. It must also be the aim that animals with low status have the opportunity to withdraw from aggressive relatives.
The environment shall be adapted to the needs of the species. This includes for example herd animals need to be kept in herds or groups. This can, however, not be practised without exception. For example, dog’s social needs may be achieved through contact with people and other person’s dogs. To what extent human contact can reduce the need for contact with relatives or other animals varies between species and individuals. It will only be the case in certain situations (for example sickness) that it is appropriate to keep livestock and tame reindeer isolated from relatives. The same applies to some small animals for example budgies and guinea pigs. Horses should also have the opportunity for contact with animals of the same species in pens, whilst grazing or similar. Herding animals often have the need for stable groups where the animals know each other and have established internal rules such as rank. It may, however, be necessary to keep animals apart from the herd in order to prevent that they injure each other. In the same way it may be necessary to keep animals apart from each other to avoid mating. It can in certain cases be necessary to separate mother and offspring at an earlier stage than would be natural for the animals. If the separation causes social isolation and poor welfare, the animal keeper must take necessary action. In large production units for many fish, it is normal that there is biological diversity. In a large population there will always be individuals which are isolated and are or will be considered as sick or starved etc. During the daily supervision, such individuals should as far as possible be removed and slaughtered. This must be reviewed with regard to other animals in the facility which may be subjected to unnecessary stress and reduced resistance against external biological or environmental parameters.
To ensure necessary adaptation to the environment through learning it is often necessary to keep young animals in similar environments to that in which they will be kept as adults. To transfer an animal from an enriched environment to a less enriched environment can result in worse welfare and should be avoided.
Good environmental conditions are important for fish and other aquatic animals’ contentment and welfare. This means that several more environmental requirements than health and good water quality must be ensured, and that conditions should be adapted to the individual species. For example, demersal fish should be offered an environment where it can lie on the bottom in dark surroundings. Other important environmental requirements for fish are mainly ensuring sufficient water so that the fish can practise near normal swimming behaviour, appropriate fish population and composition of individuals which does not represent a danger for each other. The requirement for living environment will in the first instance apply to fish in aquaculture but also in storage and breeding of wild caught marine fish.
The first article, second sentence builds on the principle that a good living environment shall promote good health and contribute to contentment and safety. At the same time a challenging environment, such as for example mountain pastures, may demand more of the animal’s health and condition. Safety involves the animals need to seek shelter or social protection if the animal is scared, withdraw from threatening animals from the same species, not be exposed to frightening experiences and not experience direct threats and attack from, for example, predators. The Act does not require that an animal should experience total safety, but that the environment shall be such that it contributes to the opportunity for the feeling of safety. Animal’s contentment shall be promoted as it is a goal, and increasing focus on the notion, that animals should have a good life and experiencing positive emotions.
The need for regular medical or surgical treatment in connection with animal keeping can in some cases be an indication that the animal’s living environment does not provide adequate welfare.
The second article also requires access to suitable and safe shelter outside the normal grazing period. The definition of “suitable shelter” will vary subject to the animal species, race, age, health and geography and climate. Suitable shelter must offer the opportunity for a dry and draught free shelter where the animals can stand and lie down etc. As a main rule, this will be a building with walls and a roof. Where the climatic conditions and conditions of the individual species allow, it may be possible to keep animals in simpler shelters with easier access from the surrounding terrain.
The term suitable and safe shelter includes requirements for protection from fire, inappropriate air quality and that predators can gain access to the shelter. An opportunity to evacuate is appropriate for some animal species but not all. Evacuation is for example extremely difficult or impossible in the case of broiler chicken farms. In such instances the focus should be on fire alarm and other preventative actions
Normal grazing periods vary in different parts of the country and are subject to the various natural circumstances and the individual species’ needs. In the case of tame reindeer and other species kept under similar natural conditions, where other animals of the same species exist in similar natural conditions in the Norwegian fauna, the grazing period can last the whole year.
The third article is a delegation of responsibility to provide regulation concerning animals’ living environment. Such regulations can include limitations to the possibility of keeping animals permanently indoors or outdoors. This provision provides for laying down specific requirements regarding action to prevent, discover and fight fire, for example fire alarm. In addition, such a regulation can provide for exemptions from the requirement in the second article concerning access to shelter.
With regard to § 24. Attention, care and feeding
The animal keeper’s responsibility under this regulation applies for all types of animals, both for land and aquatic animals, regardless of where they are situated.
The first article defines that the animal keeper shall ensure that animals receive good supervision and care. The provision shall ensure that the animal receives necessary protection, care or treatment, and that it is killed if necessary. Good care includes good cleaning, both of the animals and the environment which they are kept in. The term supervision also means the possibility to discover danger and implement necessary action. The level of supervision and care which is necessary at anyone time will depend on the species, race, age, phase of development, sex, level of domesticity, health condition, condition, stage of pregnancy etc. New born, weak or sick animals may for example need extra warmth, feed and place to lie in a concealed place. Conditions in the surroundings will also be of significance.
In the case of tame reindeer and other animals which are outside all or part of the year, this will involve the animal keeper for example being able to discover dangers and helpless, sick, starving or injured animals. In this way action can be taken, including necessary treatment or killing to prevent the animal from suffering over a long period of time. The obligation to carry out supervision of the animals whilst they are grazing must be adapted to the local conditions including terrain, grazing conditions, dangers in the grazing area etc. When it is considered that there is a significant risk that animals can be subjected to danger, the supervision must be intensified. In such areas it may be necessary, based upon concrete risk assessment, to take preventative action as in the second article b). Even though supervision will not prevent all injuries caused by for example predatory animals or accidents, good supervision will increase the opportunity to discover situations which require action.
The animal keeper’s obligation to ensure good supervision and care of animals means that the animal keeper must ensure that the animals are not left unattended in a place or over a period of time which is not appropriate. This does not prevent having animals grazing, but the obligation to supervise applies here as well. If one wishes to stop keeping animals, the animals should be transferred to another competent animal keeper or killed. To abandon animals or in any way leave them unsupervised, uncared for or unfed will constitute a breach of regulation unless such action is in compliance with this Act or requirements made under this act.
Letter a) requires the animal keeper to ensure that feed, pastures and water are of good quality, satisfy the animal’s need for nutrition and fluids, and stimulate good health and welfare. This involves for example that the feed quality and quantity shall satisfy the animal’s nutritional needs, promote good health, natural growth, development and give the feeling of being full. The feed’s hygienic quality shall be adequate. The feed shall not contain harmful substances and shall comply with requirements made in and under The Food Act. The taste and consistence of the feed can also be of significance. Feeding should be adapted to the species, age, stage of development, production, use (for example working animals) and general condition (for example nursing or sickness condition). The feed and feeding must be adapted to the animal’s natural eating behaviour (number/size of portions, texture, the manner in which the feed is given). The feeding routine shall consider possible competition between the animals and the feed shall be appropriate for use by species which naturally take a long time to eat, in order to avoid dissatisfaction and frustration. Both distribution and storage of feed must take place without the danger of the animals overeating.
Drinking water for the animals shall be of good quality and given in appropriate amounts and be constantly available or given regularly and at intervals suited to the animal species, age, level of development and general condition. The water shall be given is such a way that all animals shall have adequate access. The term good quality means that the water must be of for example such a hygienic standard that it does not cause the animal sickness.
The requirement concerning good quality grazing applies to all grazing animals and is a clarification of the general obligation to give animals adequate feed. Grazing used as the basis for feed shall be of good quality and provide enough food based on the number of animals. If the grazing does not satisfy the grazing animals’ nutritional needs, additional feed must be provided. Additional feed includes the need for vitamin and mineral supplements.
In reindeer operations, locked pastures due to impenetrable coverage of ice and snow can for example be a problem. In such cases, the person responsible for the reindeer operations must attempt to ensure crisis feeding. Crisis feeding must start at the right time and be carried out in an appropriate way. It is important that the animals are accustomed to the crisis feed gradually as experience shows that it is difficult to start feeding when the animals are already weak. The feeding of wild animals is not covered by this requirement. Possible feeding of wild animals must be considered under the Act’s general requirements. In this consideration it will be relevant to consider elements of feeding requirements contained in this provision.
The second sentence introduces a ban concerning the forced feeding or hydrating of animals unless done for animal welfare reasons. Even though there may be animal welfare reasons for force, the force used shall not be more than is necessary.
Letter b) places an obligation upon the animal keeper to protect animals from injury, sickness, parasites and other dangers. In addition it requires that sick and injured animals shall be given appropriate treatment and be killed if necessary.
The requirement for protection applies to probable or known dangers. The requirement should be seen in light of the need for protection, for example certain sicknesses, parasites etc. may be a perfectly natural part of the animal’s life. The action taken should be balanced having regard to animal welfare and practical issues. When the situation, following an assessment of the total picture, is considered unacceptable with regard to animal welfare, the necessary action must be taken, even though it may be difficult and/or a strain on resources. Action is possible when the danger is discovered or is probable, and no extraordinary circumstances which prevent action exist.
When the animals are grazing in for instance mountain pastures, it cannot be expected that they receive the same protection against dangers as they would indoors. In addition, practical condition can make it impossible to give all the animals in the herd immediate protection.
The requirement for protection is not total. It is, for example, accepted that some stresses and strains which animals can be subjected to whilst grazing are outweighed by the advantages of grazing. In the case of grazing in for instance mountain pastures, it is appropriate to consider the nature and scale of the stresses and strains. In addition, it is natural to review what can be determined as a normal loss of animals in a grazing area, in larger areas or on a national average. The individual herds must be evaluated, and the loss of animals is only one of many indicators to be taken into account when evaluating whether or not the animals are kept in an appropriate way.
The core of the evaluation is the nature and extent of the stresses and strains. Both physical and mental stresses, for example fear and stress, should be included in the evaluation.
There is, however, a limit to how great the stresses and strains, or danger of such, which can be accepted. For example, the danger of predator attacks may make it necessary to implement specific action, for example to avoid using normal grazing areas.
The injury sustained by an animal when it strays onto a road or railway, or is attacked by dogs or people, are examples of other dangers.
Disease includes everything that has a negative effect upon the animals health including infections, production related hereditary sickness, parasite attack, poisoning, side effects of medical treatment and malnutrition. Some prey animals are inferior by nature and show few symptoms when they are injured, sick or suffering in other ways. For such species welfare can often easier be evaluated on the basis of perception of wellbeing.
Letter c) requires that the animal keeper shall ensure that the spreading of infectious disease shall be limited. The term spreading of infectious disease means the transfer of potentially disease provoking agents. The term limited means to take necessary action to reduce the spreading of disease. The obligation to limit the spreading of disease applies to both within ones own holding, transport to or from other animals in other holdings and transport to or from animals in wild stocks. The Food Act and regulations made under it are the main legislation for actions against infectious animal diseases. The type of action the animal keeper can or must implement may be affected or limited by food legislation.
Letter d) places an obligation upon the animal keeper to ensure that animals, where appropriate, are suitably tame in order to be handled and cared for in an acceptable manner with regards to animal welfare. This requirement shall ensure that animals, where relevant with regard to animal welfare, are made familiar with contact with and handling by people. How tame animals shall be is subject to the animal species and the reason for keeping the animal, and will vary accordingly. It shall be possible to carry necessary supervision, care and handling.
The second article is a delegation of responsibility to provide specific regulations regarding supervision and care of animals, including conditions for the extent and execution of care and supervision, and for the protection and handling of animals.
With regard to § 25. Breeding
The first article requires that breeding shall encourage characteristics which give robust animals with a suitable function and good health.
The term breeding means all activities which are necessary to enable animals to reproduce. The term covers both natural and more or less manipulated reproduction, including bio and gene technology.
The second article a) requires that reproduction shall not be carried out when it leads to changes of genes in such a way that they influence the animals’ physical or mental functions in a negative way. The need for regular medical or surgical treatment could be an indication of the breeding being in conflict with this requirement.
b) requires that reproduction does not reduce the animals’ ability to practice natural behaviour, whereas with respect to c) it is forbidden to carry out reproduction which stimulates general ethical reactions.
Commercial breeding deals with for example adapting animals to the environment offered in the animal husbandry. This can be important for animal welfare even though some will claim that it influences the animals’ physical or mental functions in a negative way. The requirement is not intended to cover breeding for the purpose of promoting qualities such as tameness in animals or hornlessness in cattle to avoid horn removal.
The requirement does not block the way for possible future use of sterile fish in fish farming. The ministry finds, based on current knowledge, that breeding sterile fish is not in conflict with this requirement.
Breeding shall, in principle, not be intended to compensate for environmental weaknesses or be used to adapt an animal to tasks or environments which they do not naturally have the ability to enjoy. The opportunities for targeted breeding taking into account traditional and gene technology methods have become very good. Abroad cats without fur have been bred, as well as blind hens which do not peck under restricted conditions. Such breeding will be in conflict with this requirement because the breeding would be regarded as affecting the animals’ physical and mental functions in a negative way, reduce the animals’ opportunity to practise normal behaviour and could stimulate general ethical reactions.
The third article introduces a ban against further breeding of animals which through previous breeding has genes which do not comply with the second article. This also means that it is forbidden to transmit such genes, even though the breeding which has resulted in such characteristics has occurred in another holding in Norway or abroad.
The fourth article is a delegation of power to issue specific regulations concerning breeding of animals in conflict with the principles in this paragraph.
With regard to § 26. Training, showing, entertaining and competition
This provision regulates the training of animals which are used for showing, entertainment and competitions. Training includes both physical training (condition, strength, speed), obedience and dressage training. The provision is targeted at the trainer of the animals, regardless of the intention of the training, and those who use the animal for display, entertainment, competitions, as well as the organisers of such activities. The provision shall ensure consideration both to the animal being trained, displayed, used in entertainment or competition, and possible other animals which are used in connection with these activities.
The first article a) shall ensure that animals are able to complete the activity without being fatigued or injured. Not all forms of fatigue will be covered by this requirement. The requirement is intended to apply to the occasions where animals are exposed to activities which do not take into account their physical condition and where they can receive foreseeable injuries as a result of the fatigue. The effect upon the animal must to a great extent be objectively assessed based on knowledge of the animal’s needs and limits, both before the animal is used for such activities and during the training.
b) regulates the use of medicines and other substances which are given to the animal and use of aids or surgical incision which can influence the animal’s performance. The aids can be for example be devices which frighten, force or induce pain. The aids can alone or through irresponsible use be in conflict with this requirement. Examples of such equipment are bits, saddles and whips for horses. Falconneering is an example of an activity which will be forbidden under this requirement.
Treatment includes both treatment methods and medicines. Typical examples are use of painkilling during training of a lame horse or competitive racing with a dog. Regulations made under the third article will regulate specifically which activities fall within the ban.
c) is targeted at activities, substances and methods which are used with the intention of frightening, injuring or unnecessarily stressing and straining animals. Many forms of training and use of animals for display, entertainment and competition can to some degree result in fright, injury or other suffering.
The requirement will cover the use of electricity and other substances or methods which subject the animal to significant discomfort, pain or can result in metal changes or injuries. Examples are electric collars, spiked collars and other physical equipment which give negative stimuli in the form of pain and discomfort. Aversion dressage to prevent dogs from chasing grazing animals and cloven footed game, and which is carried out by authorised individuals, is intended to prevent unwanted behaviour in dogs. However, it also ensures consideration for grazing animals and cloven-hoofed game being chased and the strain this represents for these animals. During such aversion training it will be allowed to use electricity as a means for dressage on the condition that other methods which give the desired effect are not available.
Individuals who carry out such dressage must have the necessary knowledge both regarding the dressage means, use of the method and the effects it has or can have on the animal under dressage and that the animal trainer carries out the training in an appropriate way that can be controlled.
The requirements in b) and c) overlap to a certain extent with the requirement concerning industrial methods, equipment and technical solutions.
d) Determines that all forms of use of animals in fights with other animals or humans is forbidden. A fight is an activity which involves one or both animals (alternatively animal or person) attacking the other. The activity is forbidden regardless of whether there is payment or not and regardless of whether there is an audience or not. Training for such activity is also forbidden. The requirement does not in the first instance cover the training and use of working dogs. This can be regulated more specifically in regulations made under the second and third article.
The second article delegates power to issue specific regulations regarding training, display, entertainment and competitions. It can for example be appropriate to make regulations concerning which animal species are allowed to be used on public display, rules for the use of training equipment, rules to prevent doping of animals and who is permitted to carry out aversion dressage etc.
The third article delegates responsibility which provides for making exemptions from the first article. Such exemptions can be done both through regulation and decisions. For example, it may be appropriate to issue regulations which emphasise that the ban under the first article d) does not apply to certain forms of training and use of working dogs.
With regard to § 27. Trading of animals and professional care of animals belonging to others
The first article defines the trading of animals as the transfer of animals with or without consideration. This covers both temporary and permanent transfer of responsibility. Trading will particularly apply to activities such as re-homing, rental and loan of animals. The obligation under the first article to give necessary information is limited to particular circumstances connected to the individual animal’s welfare, for example special needs associated to feeding and care.
The second article delegates power to issue specific regulations concerning several activities associated to temporary or permanent transfer of responsibility for animals, including re-homing of animals of which the owner is unknown.
On the basis of the second article, specific regulations may be issued concerning the information required in connection with trading in animals. This applies generally and is not only associated to trading of animals from pet/animal shops. It may be appropriate to impose a wider duty, than that required under the first article, on those who trade professionally in animals, to provide information to the purchaser regarding keeping and caring for the animal, This is naturally related to the competence requirement in § 6, both because the person trading the animal needs to have the necessary competence to comply with the obligation to provide information, and that that person shall also contribute to providing the recipient with the necessary competence.
Information and appropriate marketing is a natural and important part of trading and taking care of other people’s animals for profit. This regulation provides for regulation of marketing with regards to animal welfare, which is not something which falls within the scope of general marketing legislation.
The provision delegates power to issue regulations regarding the re-homing of owned or stray animals, including when the activity is carried out by an individual or idealist organisation which does not have a commercial interest in the activity. The provision also provides a ban against the use of live animals as lottery prizes, including regulations concerning the keeping of animal belonging to others for profit. The care and exercising of animals for profit in the owner’s home has recently become a part of the commercial market. This aspect could be appropriate to regulate under this provision.
The second article also provides for regulation of banning of import and export of animals. This must be done within the framework of international agreements.
Animals which should not be kept because of their inability to adapt,. ref. the provisions regarding general conditions for keeping animals, shall not be imported. This provision will, for example together with the provision concerning general conditions for keeping animals, provide for the continuation of the regulations from 20 November 1976 nr. 3 concerning a ban against the import, trading or keeping of exotic animals as pets, farm animals, or keeping such animals in captivity of any sort. Based on the large number and diversity of exotic animals that may be imported to or kept in Norway, it is considered natural to issue regulations which specify which species can be legally imported, bred or kept. The import of animals is also regulated by regulations under other Acts.
With regard to § 28. The release of animals into nature
The provision regulates the release of animals where the intention is to enable them to live in the wild. The first article requires that an animal can only be released from captivity into nature to live wild if the animal has a good possibility to adapt to and survive in its new environment. The release of animals from captivity in order that the animals may live in the wild, is challenging with respect to animal welfare and can result in significant strain for the animals. The requirement attempts to ensure to a large extent that the release occurs in an appropriate way in order to protect animal welfare and increase the survival chances of the animals which are released. There are, however, great differences between species, how the releases are carried out, and what the intentions of the releases are. The release of animals into the wild will also be covered by requirements in other legislation, for example the Wild Game Act, the Salmon and Fresh Water Fish Act and the Food Act.
The releasing of animals which have been bred to conserve endangered animal species is important for society. The provision does not ban such release but requires that consideration be given to the animal’s ability to adapt and survive. It is important at the point of release that the animals are offered a suitable environment and are not released into a place where the environment is inadequate, or that competition or particular dangers limit their opportunity to manage. The ministry is of the opinion that the animal welfare issues attached to such projects should be assessed at an early stage, and that action should be taken to ensure the animals’ welfare and ability to survive. The release into nature of wild animals which have temporarily been captive due to injury/illness, is not regulated by this requirement.
Release in conflict with the first article can also be regulated by the provision prohibiting the abandoning of animals in a helpless condition.
The second article delegate’s responsibility which provides for specific regulations concerning the release of animals into nature including establishing conditions for or banning such a release.
Chapter III. Administrative provisions and sanctions
The provision provides a legal basis for issuing regulations regarding charges and fees. Supervision and control in the first and second article means controlling that persons who are subject to requirements under this Act, or regulations under this Act, comply with those requirements. A central part of the supervision and control role is to investigate, with or without warning, or in other ways collect knowledge regarding the party being controlled in order to determine whether or not the party complies with the requirements. Guidance, imposition of improvements and other actions or sanctions in order to ensure that the requirements are complied with, are also considered to fall within the term supervision and control.
With regard to § 29. Charges and fees
The enforcement body’s professional advisory functions, such as for example the scientific committee for food safety and support from academic institutions, as well as communication and information activities, are also considered to fall within the term supervision and control to the extent in which they are connected to the carrying out of tasks as stated above.
Emergency preparedness tasks and action to maintain the necessary capacity and competence in order to ensure the enforcement body can at all times manage crisis situations in an adequate way, is also considered to fall within the term supervision and control.
Fees in accordance with the first article can be claimed to cover costs incurred in connection with tasks where there is an unambiguous and clear relationship between the service/task which is carried out, and the recipient of the service or the person who has a benefit from the task which the control authority carries out. This will typically apply in the case of specific administration such as the issuing of certificates, approval or for example where a client pays for an enforcement visit and subsequent follow up. These are management tasks which are the result of client needs and as such can be seen as services. The enforcement body can also charge a fee to cover the costs the body has incurred in connection with extraordinary action related to the body being controlled not complying with orders made.
In cases where there is not necessarily a clear relationship between the service/task which is carried out and the client, but the task is related to clients/client groups, the charges provisions in the second article can be used. The charge can be applied to both Norwegian and imported food.
The third article provides for requiring a producer or importer to pay a charge on feed for animals which are not used for food production. This charge shall cover tasks which are related to clients/client groups outside food production. Examples are control of the keeping of pets and hobby animals, fur farms and pet shops.
The fourth article provides for issuing regulations concerning the calculation of charges, fees and collection and payment. The fees and charges shall mirror the actual costs incurred by the state in connection with carrying out their activities.
With regard to § 30. Control and decisions
The first article determines that the Food Safety Authority carries out controls and may issue decisions necessary to ensure compliance with this Act or regulations under this Act. The competence to take individual decisions in connection with ongoing enforcement will be placed at such a level that appeals should normally not be sent higher than to the head office in the Food Safety Authority. The ministry, in its capacity as the superior body, can also make decisions under the Act.
The type of decisions to be made is naturally subject to the material obligations which are contained in the act. Decisions can also be made in the case of risk of suffering, regardless of whether, in a particular case, the animals are suffering or not. The decision can relate to conditions relating to owned and ownerless animals. The Public Administration Act § 2 lays down limitations by virtue of its definition of decision. Decisions can also apply to owners or other persons responsible for animals which are rough grazing.
All decision should be proportional and not be more severe than is necessary to follow the Act’s intention.
As a main rule, decisions should be issued when a breach of the legislation has occurred. In many cases, the decision will order the correction of certain conditions. The intention of such orders to correct is to ensure compliance with the legislation within a certain time limit. Despite the person being controlled having an obligation to follow the legislation, it will not always be deemed to be appropriate effective enforcement to make decisions in all cases where there is found to be a legislative breach. Targeted and effective enforcement can allow for individual observations of a less severe character being in the first instance informally communicated to the person being controlled, in exchange for increased effort and compliance of general systems or more serious breaches of the legislation. Making an individual aware of his/her obligations to follow the legislation is legally regarded as guidance and not as a decision.
The second article gives legal status to the animal protection bodies as a part of the Food Safety Authority’s enforcement apparatus in the field of animal welfare. The intention of the animal protection bodies is primarily to safeguard the lay man’s perspective in local enforcement work. The Food Safety Authority is responsible for the way in which the boards are composed, total number of boards and total number of members in each board. The Food Safety Authority decides to which extent the authority which lays within the local enforcement responsibility can be delegated to the animal protection bodies. The animal protection bodies shall be a part of the local level within the Food Safety Authority. The right to appeal will follow general principles of administrative legislation.
The third article gives the King the power to delegate authority to carry out enforcement, make decisions relating to state or private organisations other than the Food Safety Authority, and issue requirements regarding the appeal authority. The term private organisation means all private organisations regardless of type of organisation.
The fourth article delegates power to issue specific regulations regarding the exercise of enforcement, nomination and operation of enforcement bodies.
With regard to § 31. Compensation
The regulation determines that the owner of the animal has a right to economic compensation in the case of radical decisions to restrict grazing in order to protect farm animals from predators. In the case of significant restrictive decisions concerning grazing, the animal owner has a right to economic compensation based on extra costs incurred in connection with a decision.
The circumstances in which a decision can be considered to be so significant that compensation is justified will normally be 1) that a decision is made regarding the gathering of grazing animals or a ban on releasing animals onto wild grazing areas, 2) that it effects wild grazing that the person normally uses all or parts of the grazing season and 3) that it results in the disuse of the wild grazing area for more than one week during the grazing season. The right to compensation will be subject to the animal owner complying with the issued decision.
More specific requirements regarding this arrangement, including conditions for the right and size of compensation, will be provided for in regulations.
With regard to § 32. The execution of orders and temporary custody of animals etc.
The first article provides for the control authority to implement necessary action itself. This applies in the case of a control authority’s decision not being followed, the responsible person is unknown, or it is necessary to carry out the action without delay. This implies that the enforcement authority either carries out necessary action or allows others to carry out the action on their behalf. Necessary action also includes killing of animals or take custody of animals, without the need for a prior decision, as it is imperative with regard to the animals to carry out the action quickly. It may also be necessary to kill animals or take custody of animals when an order is not followed even though this action is more severe than the original decision.
The second article gives both the enforcement authority and the police power, following a decision, to place animals into temporary custody or ensure that animals receive necessary supervision and care. This involves the responsibility for the animals being transferred to the enforcement authority. Even though the responsibility for the animals is transferred, ownership rights are not transferred. If a large number of domestic animals are involved, it is often not practical to move the animals to another place. It is then possible to ensure supervision and care on site, for example by employing keepers or buying feed.
The responsibility for animals, which have been taken into temporary custody by the police, is transferred to the enforcement authority when the decision is confirmed and at the latest after 7 days.
The third article determines that temporary custody shall not be longer than necessary. The term necessary in this context means that the custody must be long enough to allow for an appropriate investigation into the case. Temporary custody should not normally last longer than three weeks but this must be assessed in each individual case.
Before the end of the custody period, the enforcement authority must evaluate if it will be appropriate to return the animals to the owner. If, after a period of temporary custody, it is considered inappropriate to return the animals to the owner the animals must be killed. This does not hinder the animals being returned to somebody else, with or without payment, as long as the owner agrees. Such a transfer can only be done in cases where it is appropriate from an animal welfare perspective. In the event of a decision concerning temporary custody being appealed against, and it is probable that the animal will be killed, the enforcement authority should consider whether the animal is to be killed before the appeal is processed.
The fourth article states that action under the first and second article can be carried out at the expense of the animal keeper. Money outstanding may be recovered by execution proceedings.
The fifth article states that the police shall assist in the execution of control and decisions.
The final article delegate power to issue specific regulations regarding execution of orders and temporary custody of animals.
With regard to § 33. Ban against activities covered by the Act
The first article allows the Food Safety Authority issue orders in order to limit persons from activities under this Act this Act. Such a decision can only be made if a person fails to comply with substantial orders, or seriously or repeatedly violates decisions made under this Act or regulations under this Act. The Food Safety Authority can only make such orders where they deem it necessary to prevent future breaches of the act. The orders shall be proportional and shall not be more extensive, with regards to either length or scope than is appropriate and necessary. Respect for the individual requires that the Food Safety Authority should exercise discretion with this type of order.
The term “activities under this act” means to own, keep, use, trade, slaughter, care for, hunt or trap. This is in accordance with the act concerning animal protection of 1974 including later amendments.
The definition of what can be considered as a substantial order, or constitutes a breach of a serious nature, will be at the discretion of the administration. An example of a substantial order could be an order to feed the animals. An example of a serious breach could be mistreatment in the form of violence, and neglect which subjects the animals to significant strain. The length of time the animals have been subjected to mistreatment or neglect is of significance. The environment, in which the animal is kept, including stabling, is covered in the assessment of care. A repeat offence can in itself lead to an order, but this must also be based on the nature of the breach and seriousness.
Decisions made under this requirement are not punishment and shall be used exclusively to protect animals. A person can, for example following an assessment, be considered suitable for keeping pets without being competent to keep animals in an industrial context. In the same way, a person who has demonstrated that he/she is unable to look after sheep could be assessed as unable to look after other animals. In the event of a person obtaining new animals in breach of an order under this requirement, it will not be necessary to issue a new decision to carry out an order made under this Act.
The decision can either be time limited or indefinite. It is important that such decisions are not maintained for longer than is considered appropriate based on the facts of the case. The Food Safety Authority can alter a decision in the event changes in circumstances allow for this.
The second article underlines the court’s power to in connection with criminal proceedings, imposing similar prohibitions.
With regard to § 34. Non compliance fee
A non compliance fee is an administrative sanction which can be issued by the control authority in the case of any person intentionally or unintentionally failing to comply with a decision made under this Act. The fee is intended to have preventive effect, both for individuals and the general public. Whilst the provisions regarding the execution of orders, temporary custody of animals etc, and enforcement damages are intended to bring to illegal conditions an end, a non compliance fee will primarily be intended to hinder prevent breaches. The non compliance fee is similar to punishment, but is not considered as punishment. As it is issued by an enforcement body, it is in many ways a simpler and more effective method of sanction than court proceedings. The non compliance fee will not replace punishment in the event of repeated and serious breaches, or in the case of seriously negligent or intentional breaches which subject an animal to significant suffering.
The first article defines the conditions for applying the non compliance fee and the calculation principles for such a fee. The fee can be imposed for all types of non compliance. This applies to breaches of acts, regulations and individual orders. In practise, it will be most appropriate to apply the non compliance fee in the case of less serious breaches. In the case of serious breaches, with significant consequences, a formal charge and general criminal proceedings are more appropriate.
If no blame can be put on the infringer for the breach, no non compliance fee should be claimed. Caution should also be exercised in claiming the non compliance fee for breaches of the provisions regarding the obligation to alert and help. The provisions are partly far-reaching, and therefore in cases where an outsider has breached the provisions, the non compliance fee should not be applied. In the case of serious breach of these provisions, the application of the non compliance fee may, however, be a suitable reaction.
The provision concerning the non compliance fees can also be used in the case of breaches of the provisions which are not punishable. The obligation to help and alert are, however, far-reaching in that it applies to all individuals. Caution should therefore be exercised in using the non compliance fee in cases where an outsider has breached the clauses.
The requirement for evidence in civil cases is a prevailing probability. In the case of criminal cases, however, the main rule is that all reasonable and rational doubt should result in acquittal. Bearing in mind the similarity between the non compliance fee and a fine, there should be a clear prevailing probability that the conditions for applying the non compliance fee exist.
The ministry regards it as appropriate that the size of the non compliance fee should be to a great extent standardised. It will, however, be possible to determine the fee based on an analysis of the breach. Standard fees can be determined in regulation together with guidance for calculating individual fees. In determining the size of a fee, the level of guilt, scale of breach, effect and subsequent gain will be relevant aspects. The fee should be set at such a high level that breach does represent a viable economic option. Consideration may also be taken to the cost incurred by the state in connection with handling and investigating the case. Importance may be attached to whether or not there have been repeated breaches. In order to ensure consistent practise and transparency in applying the non compliance fee, it may be appropriate to produce instructions or guidelines.
The second article states that non compliance fees owed, may be recovered by execution proceedings. The non compliance fee can only be recovered by execution proceedings following a subsequent appeal concerning the fee being concluded.
The third article states specific regulations may be issued regarding the non compliance charge.
With regard to § 35 Enforcement damages
The first and second article continues current law. The control authority is competent to determine if enforcement damages shall be claimed or not. Enforcement damages are not in legal terms punishment, but an administrative action. The intention of enforcement damages is to force the individual with obligations under the Act to comply with orders or conditions which are issued for example in connection or as part of with a decision regarding approval. Enforcement damages involve the company being obliged to pay a specific amount. Enforcement damages can be imposed as ongoing daily rate or as a one off charge.
The first article states that the enforcement authority can claim enforcement damages in the event of an order not being followed within a set deadline. Ongoing daily enforcement damages apply at a daily sum, from the first working day after the deadline, and continue until the order is complied with. The one off enforcement charge is a fixed sum and is due for payment in full on the first working day following the deadline that is set in the order.
In the event of an extended deadline being given to comply with an order, the enforcement authority can apply enforcement charges which run from the passing of the new deadline.
The provision does not give guidance as to the size of the enforcement charge. The size of the enforcement charge should be determined based on the importance of compliance with the order, and which costs are likely to be incurred. The enforcement damages shall function as a coercive action, and the level should be sufficient to be effective without being unreasonable. It shall not be simply unprofitable to ignore an order, but the responsible person must consider it as untenable to remain passive. The payments should normally be so great that they will exceed the gain which the responsible person can expect in the event of him/her not complying with the order.
The third article states that enforcement damages may be determined in connection with the issuing of the decision. This will only be appropriate in certain situations when it is considered absolutely necessary that a deadline is met. It can be appropriate to apply a one off enforcement charge in those instances when enforcement charges are used already in connection with issuing the order (first time order).
The fourth article, first sentence states that enforcement damages owed may be recovered by execution proceedings. Enforcement damages which are not paid as required by order can be enforced. Enforcement shall take place in accordance with the act concerning debt enforcement.
The fourth article second sentence provides the enforcement authority with the power to cancel accrued enforcement damages. Cancellation should only occur in special circumstances. An example of consideration which would allow for part or total cancellation of a charge would be in cases where the recovery of the charges would destroy the economic viability of the business, or that the breach was innocent for reasons similar to those following the principle of force major.
The fifth article delegates power to issue specific regulations regarding the application and calculation of enforcement damages.
With regard to § 36. The establishment of a data register
The first article determines that the control authorities have the authority to establish new or connect to existing data registers. Such data registers shall only be established when it is necessary with regards to fulfilling the intention of the Act or comply with international agreements to which Norway is a party. The term “international agreements” in this case means particularly the EEA agreement. A further exemption is provided in the provision from the requirement in the act 14. april 2000 nr. 31 (the Personal Information Act) § 8 concerning the need to obtain consent from the person whom the information concerns. Consent will, however, be the preferred alternative with respect to the Personal Information Act §§ 8 and 9, in order to protect the registered person’s right to privacy.
The exemption does not apply, however, to sensitive personal information as defined in the Personal Information Act. An example of sensitive information is information regarding race, ethical background, religious belief, criminal record and health record etc. For a more detailed definition of the term, reference is made to the Personal Information Act § 2 nr. 8.
When the enforcement authority sets up or changes a large administrative data system, a notification must be sent to the central office for statistics, as required in the regulations concerning administrative data systems within the state administration, contained within the Act regarding statistics.
The second article delegates power to issue regulations regarding the obligation to surrender information to a register made under the provisions of the first article.
With regard to § 37. Punishment
The first article, first sentence, defines that intentional or grossly negligent violation of the requirements in or under this Act or decision issued under this Act is punishable. Aiding and abetting are punished in the same way. The level of punishment is fines or imprisonment for a maximum of 1 year. Serious violations are punishable with imprisonment for a maximum of 3 years. This is provided for in the second article.
A breach which in the first instance is punishable will, however, based on the concrete situation, be subject to various forms of formal reaction. A breach of a specific clause in the act will be punishable in various ways dependent on the situation associated to the breach of the legislation.
Punishment by fine can be utilised alone or in combination with a prison sentence, and will in many cases be the most appropriate punishment. In assessing the size of the fine, the possible gain, danger of damage or scale of injury as a result of the breach will be relevant factors. In addition, the Criminal Code § 27, ref. § 1, which requires that the individual’s economic ability, shall be considered when determining the level of fine.
The penal provision is divided into two levels of seriousness. The reason for such a division is for example that in the case an individual breach of a less serious nature, the police should be able to punish a breach with a fine. In the case of serious or particularly aggravating circumstances weighting should be given to the consequences of the breach, the scale of the physical and mental injury and pain, or whether the breach has happened over a period of time or is a repetition of a breach. Consideration should also be given to whether the breach has occurred in a particularly painful way, and whether the breach was done with intent.
In the case of a breach where seizure is a possibility, the Criminal Code’s general provisions in connection with seizure apply as provided for in the Criminal Code § 34 and following.
In the case of corporate punishment the general rules contained within the Criminal Code § § 48 a and 48 b apply.
The charge is a public responsibility with respect to the Criminal Code § 77, and is therefore not dependent on any request from an offended party.
Chapter IV. Concluding Regulations
The regulation delegates power to issue specific regulations necessary to ensure compliance with Norway’s obligations under the EEA Treaty.
With regard to § 38. Entry into force and status
With regard to § 39. Amendments in other Acts
With regards to amendment to The Food Act.
The Food Act § 20 is repealed in order to avoid double regulation.
With regards to changes the act relating to veterinarians and other animal health personnel § 14 and 31.
The first article states that the obligation to help, which animal health personnel have under the act concerning animal health personnel, is valid upon request. This is due to animal health personnel having an independent obligation to, without request, help sick, injured or helpless animals which they discover. This duty is regulated in the Act concerning animal welfare § 4.
The second article regulates when animal health personnel have the right to claim expenses from the state for help administered under the first article, or when help is administered in complying with the obligation to help in the Act concerning animal welfare. In the event of animal welfare personnel being requested to administer necessary help, as required in the first article, they can then claim an appropriate remuneration from the state. This is only the case if he or she has not received payment, following a claim, by the individual with the obligation to pay.
The second article second sentence is a new requirement. The provision shall ensure that the individual who is obliged to help is not obliged to pay animal health personnel in the event of a wild or stray animal being delivered for inspection or subsequent euthanasia. In such a case, the animal health personnel can direct a claim directly to the state.
The third article is a new requirement. The provision delegates power to issue specific regulations regarding the scope of animal health personnel’s obligation to help. Terms and conditions may also be set concerning the level of remuneration from the state. It will be appropriate to limit the scope of costs covered to a sum equivalent to individual inspections and euthanasia. It may be evaluated if costs for simple treatment should be covered within the same cost bracket as an alternative to euthanasia. Practising veterinarians are independent professionals who have the right to determine a price for their services. It may also be appropriate to determine maximum rates for remuneration from the state.
The state can take over any claim against an individual with the obligation to pay in the event of the state remunerating animal health personnel as provided for in the provision in the second article.
With regards to amendments to the Act relating to health personnel
Concerning the Act of 2 July 1999 nr. 64 regarding health personnel etc. § 23 nr. 5:
The amendment defines that health personnel have the right to alert when, during the practising of their profession, have reason to believe that animals are being subjected to abuse or serious neglect with regards to environment, supervision and care. Health personnel are not required to have concrete knowledge of the existence of mistreatment or neglect by virtue of the term “reason to believe”. Health personnel must, however, have a justifiable suspicion that animals are being subjected to mistreatment or serious neglect. Rumours or loosely based assumptions concerning possible mistreatment or serious neglect, which are not confirmed by the health personnel’s own observations, will, as a main rule, not be sufficient grounds for the application of the right to alert. In assessing whether there is reason to believe that animals are being subjected to mistreatment or serious neglect with regards to the environment, supervision and care, the health personnel must for example consider the patients sickness or health condition and what significance this will have on the patient’s ability to look after the animals in an appropriate way.
Not all breaches of that which could be considered as appropriate animal keeping will be sufficient to empower health personnel with the right to alert. The right to alert will become applicable in the case of conditions being of such a character as to be described as abuse of animals, or if the existing neglect regarding the environment, supervision and care are considered to be serious.
The provision gives health personnel a right to alert, but not the obligation to alert. Even though there may be reason to believe that animals are being subjected to abuse or serious neglect with respect to the environment, supervision and care, health personnel must carry out a concrete total assessment to determine if it is legitimate to communicate their observations to the authorities. There must be, in other words, an assessment of the balance of interest between regard for the patient and the right to confidentiality, and regard for the animals. The fundamental condition for right to alert to apply is, as stated, that there is reason to believe that animals are subject to abuse or serious neglect. In these situations the distance from an appropriate keeping of animals, or necessary animal welfare, will be so great that it an alert will be justified. In some situation, however, the confidentiality clause must prevail. This may be the case for example where the use of the right to alert will worsen or destroy the opportunity for further treatment of a patient’s illness or condition, where the situation must be assumed to be of a very temporary nature and necessary medical treatment is given, or where health personnel have been satisfied that the patient will take the necessary action to ensure good animal welfare.
In the majority of situations where health personnel in a professional capacity has reason to believe that animals are being subjected to mistreatment or serious neglect with regards to the environment, supervision and care, it is likely that the health personnel will be given approval by the patient to find voluntary solutions. This may be done for example by the health personnel informing relatives, neighbours or public authorities. In the event of such cases not being resolved by voluntary solutions with the patient’s approval, the health personnel will have the right to communicate information without the hindering effect of the confidentiality clause.
The existing § 23 nr. 5 is given the new no § 23 nr. 6.
a) In the Act 19. December 2003 nr. 124 regarding food production and food safety (The Food Act) the following changes apply:
b) Act 15. June 2001 no. 75 concerning veterinarians and other animal health personnel.
§ 14 and § 31.
c) Act 2. July 1999 no. 64 concerning health personnel, the following amendments apply:
New § 23 no. 4 shall read:
-4. that information can be passed on when weighty private or official interests render the transfer of information fair.
With regard to § 40. Entry into force and transitional provisions
This Act comes into force (date). As of this date the following Acts are repealed: Act 20. December 1974 no. 73 regarding animal protection and Act 19. April 2002 no. 11 concerning the amendment of Act 20 December 1974 no. 73 regarding animal protection.
Regulations or administrative decisions issued pursuant to Act 20 December 1974 no. 73 regarding animal protection will continue until they are repealed.