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Ökologischer Betrieb
© BLE, Bonn/Thomas Stephan
Ökologischer Betrieb
Institute of

BW Farm Economics


Nationwide comparison of animal welfare measures (premia)

Laying henns in a free range system
© BLE, Bonn/Dominic Menzler
Laying henns in a free range system

Animal welfare support premia of German federal states

From the society's point of view, most current livestock husbandry and management methods are non-animal-friendly and should be adapted. However, the improvement of animal welfare often entails higher investment- and current costs. These can be compensated by higher product prices (animal welfare labels) or by support measures. Since only a subset of consumers (~ 30%) are willing to pay higher product prices for improved animal welfare, a label (as a unique measure) is not likely to bring about substantial change in a majority of farms.

This possibility may exist by promoting animal-friendly husbandry methods with adequate support measures. However, this kind of measure needs to be designed in such a way that it has measurable positive effects on animal welfare and can be implemented by a large number of farmers.

Background and Objective

Since the support measures to improve animal welfare are implemented on a decentral basis at the level of the federal states, the measure is subject to a high degree of variation. Some federal states implement results-oriented (premium for pigs curly tails in Lower Saxony) some action-oriented measures (pasture premium in North Rhine-Westphalia). The federal states focus their support on different animal species and finance the measure either purely from their budget or with co-financing by the national government and/or by the EUs Rural Development Plan (RDP).

The project "Animal welfare support measures (premia) in the German federal states" pursues the goal of informing the discussion on suitable measures to improve animal welfare in livestock husbandry by means of providing structured information. For this purpose, a synopsis of the contents, the structure, the financing as well as the range and modes of action of the support measures for the improvement of animal welfare implemented by the federal states of Germany will be prepared.


Basis for the synopsis are:

  • Funding documents from the federal states, the federal government and the EU
  • Data queries on the scope of the planned as well as the already disbursed funding

The information is processed, structured, analysed and clearly presented in a nationwide comparison of animal welfare support measures.


In Germany, five federal states currently support the improvement of animal welfare through the “Animal Welfare”-measure within the framework of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). Of the German EAFRD funds available in the 2014-2020 programming period, less than one percent is earmarked for the “Animal Welfare”-measure. Outside the EAFRD, two more “Animal Welfare”-measures are implemented in Germany. Hamburg finances a pasture premium together with the federal government and Bavaria implements a self-financed pasture premium.

The measure which is implemented by the largest number of federal states is the pasture premium “summer grazing of dairy cows”. Pigs and chickens are much less often addressed the same goes for cattle for fattening. All support measures are action-oriented, with the exception of two results-oriented measures for fattening pigs and piglets offered in Lower Saxony, where the subsidy is paid when a certain proportion of intact tails is achieved. Most of the premiums offered so far only support a small share of farms and animals. At federal level, the proportion of animals supported is by far the highest in cattle with a share of five percent. Of the chickens and pigs, less than one percent of the animals are supported by animal welfare measures.

Due to the limited scope of the measures, it can be assumed that the support has so far not induced fundamental changes in animal husbandry. However, they can represent an approach for testing of animal-friendly procedures and rewarding of an animal-friendly husbandry, because of the compensation (at least in part) of the higher costs of animal-friendly production.

Research shows that a more effective design of animal welfare premiums would be possible through the combination of results-and action-oriented approaches. The federal regulations, which only allow for action-oriented support, should therefore be amended to include results-oriented support. In addition, the range of subsidies should be extended to cover all relevant livestock species.


1.2018 - 2.2019

More Information

Project status: finished

Publications to the project

  1. 0

    Gröner C, Bergschmidt A (2019) Tierwohl-Förderprämien der Bundesländer : Ausgestaltung, Inanspruchnahme und Reichweite. Braunschweig: Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, 74 p, Thünen Working Paper 125, DOI:10.3220/WP1563866466000

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