Schneidewind, S. J., Meemken, D., Langforth, S. 2023. Measures and penalties for animal welfare violations at german abattoirs: A compilation of current recommendations and practices. Animals 13(18), 2916.

Protecting animal welfare during preslaughter handling and slaughter is an important ethical concern with growing importance to consumers. However, animal welfare violations in abattoirs remain a serious problem, and the enforcement of relevant laws and regulations is often inadequate. This study investigated and compiled the measures and penalties which official veterinarians (OVs) consider appropriate for different animal welfare violations at German abattoirs, including ranges for fines. Additionally, information regarding which measures were taken in past cases, including past procedural outcomes (e.g., judicial decisions and regulatory animal welfare orders in Germany), were gathered and summarised. The aim is to provide insights into the status quo, so that flaws in law enforcement (e.g., imposing low penalties or not filing a criminal complaint when necessary) can be identified in a future study. To achieve this, the following five steps were utilised: acquiring relevant judicial decisions; conducting an anonymous online survey among German OVs; conducting semi-structured interviews with OVs; conducting a virtual colloquium with OVs; and consulting lawyers. Measures and penalties for violations of 40 relevant and frequent different provisions of the German Ordinance on the Protection of Animals in connection with Slaughter or Killing (TierSchlV), in conjunction with the Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 and the German Animal Welfare Act, were gathered. The findings were compiled into a list of measures and penalties, which contains a separate table for all 40 violations, entailing an overview of the following information: citation(s) of legal/regulatory requirements to protect animals at the time of killing/slaughter; citation(s) of relevant regulatory and criminal penalties; special measures/penalties considered appropriate for the first and repeated offence by OVs; and information on penalties listed in judicial decisions of past similar cases. This initiative is a step towards achieving a reduction of animal welfare violations at German abattoirs.