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Council Directive 2008/119/ECShow full title

Council Directive 2008/119/EC of 18 December 2008 laying down minimum standards for the protection of calves (Codified version)

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1.Materials used for the construction of calf accommodation and in particular of boxes and equipment with which calves may come into contact must not be harmful to the calves and must be capable of being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.U.K.

2.Until Community rules are laid down on the matter, electrical circuits and equipment must be installed in accordance with current national rules so as to avoid electric shocks.U.K.

3.Insulation, heating and ventilation of the building must ensure that the air circulation, dust level, temperature, relative air humidity and gas concentrations are kept within limits which are not harmful to the calves.U.K.

4.All automated or mechanical equipment essential for the calves’ health and well-being must be inspected at least once daily. Where defects are discovered, they must be rectified immediately or, if this is impossible, appropriate steps must be taken to safeguard the health and well-being of the calves until the defect has been rectified, notably by using alternative methods of feeding and maintaining a satisfactory environment.U.K.

Where an artificial ventilation system is used, provision must be made for an appropriate back-up system to guarantee sufficient air renewal to preserve the health and well-being of the calves in the event of failure of the system, and an alarm system must be provided to warn the stock-keeper of the breakdown. The alarm system must be tested regularly.

5.Calves must not be kept permanently in darkness. To meet their behavioural and physiological needs, provision must be made, allowing for the different climatic conditions in the Member States, for appropriate natural or artificial lighting; if the latter, it must function for a period at least equivalent to the period of natural light normally available between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. In addition, suitable lighting (fixed or portable) strong enough to allow the calves to be inspected at any time must be available.U.K.

6.All housed calves must be inspected by the owner or the person responsible for the animals at least twice daily and calves kept outside must be inspected at least once daily. Any calf which appears to be ill or injured must be treated appropriately without delay and veterinary advice must be obtained as soon as possible for any calf which is not responding to the stock-keeper’s care. Where necessary, sick or injured calves must be isolated in adequate accommodation with dry, comfortable bedding.U.K.

7.The accommodation for calves must be constructed in such a way as to allow each calf to lie down, rest, stand up and groom itself without difficulty.U.K.

8.Calves must not be tethered, with the exception of group-housed calves which may be tethered for periods of not more than one hour at the time of feeding milk or milk substitute. Where tethers are used, they must not cause injury to the calves and must be inspected regularly and adjusted as necessary to ensure a comfortable fit. Each tether must be designed to avoid the risk of strangulation or injury and to allow the calf to move in accordance with point 7.U.K.

9.Housing, pens, equipment and utensils used for calves must be properly cleaned and disinfected to prevent cross-infection and the build-up of disease-carrying organisms. Faeces, urine and uneaten or spilt food must be removed as often as necessary to minimise smell and avoid attracting flies or rodents.U.K.

10.Floors must be smooth but not slippery, so as to prevent injury to the calves, and so designed as not to cause injury or suffering to calves standing or lying on them. They must be suitable for the size and weight of the calves and form a rigid, even and stable surface. The lying area must be comfortable, clean, and adequately drained and must not adversely affect the calves. Appropriate bedding must be provided for all calves less than two weeks old.U.K.

11.All calves must be provided with an appropriate diet adapted to their age, weight and behavioural and physiological needs, to promote good health and welfare. To this end, their food must contain sufficient iron to ensure an average blood haemoglobin level of at least 4,5 mmol/litre, and a minimum daily ration of fibrous food must be provided for each calf over two weeks old, the quantity being raised from 50 g to 250 g per day for calves from eight to 20 weeks old. Calves shall not be muzzled.U.K.

12.All calves must be fed at least twice a day. Where calves are housed in groups and not fed ad libitum or by an automatic feeding system, each calf must have access to the food at the same time as the others in the group.U.K.

13.All calves over two weeks of age must have access to a sufficient quantity of fresh water or be able to satisfy their fluid intake needs by drinking other liquids. However, in hot weather conditions or for calves which are ill, fresh drinking water must be available at all times.U.K.

14.Feeding and watering equipment must be designed, constructed, placed and maintained so that contamination of the calves’ feed and water is minimised.U.K.

15.Each calf must receive bovine colostrum as soon as possible after it is born and in any case within the first six hours of life.U.K.



Repealed Directive with its successive amendments

(referred to in Article 12)

Council Directive 91/629/EEC

(OJ L 340, 11.12.1991, p. 28)

Council Directive 97/2/EC

(OJ L 25, 28.1.1997, p. 24)

Commission Decision 97/182/EC

(OJ L 76, 18.3.1997, p. 30)

Council Regulation (EC) No 806/2003

(OJ L 122, 16.5.2003, p. 1)

only Annex III, point 25


List of time limits for transposition into national law

(referred to in Article 12)

DirectivesTime limit for transposition
91/629/EEC1 January 1994
97/2/EC31 December 1997



Directive 91/629/EECThis Directive
Articles 1 and 2Articles 1 and 2
Article 3(1)
Article 3(2)
Article 3(3), first subparagraphArticle 3(1), first subparagraph
Article 3(3), second subparagraph, introductory wordsArticle 3(1), second subparagraph, introductory words
Article 3(3), second subparagraph, first indentArticle 3(1), second subparagraph, point (a)
Article 3(3), second subparagraph, second indentArticle 3(1), second subparagraph, point (b)
Article 3(3), third subparagraphArticle 3(2)
Article 3(4)
Article 4(1)Article 4
Articles 5 to 10Articles 5 to 10
Article 11(1)
Article 11(2)Article 11
Article 12
Article 13
Article 12Article 14
AnnexAnnex I
Annex II
Annex III

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