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The EU has a Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which includes rules for animal welfare.
The question of animal welfare was first addressed in a declaration on the occasion of the Intergovernmental Conference on political union (1991-92). The institutions have since been required to take animal welfare into account when drafting and implementing Community legislation in the fields of the Common Agricultural Policy, transport, the internal market and research.
Although a Protocol laying down the obligations of the Community institutions and the member states relating to animals was annexed to the Treaty of Amsterdam, the establishment of the Internal Market and the cessation of veterinary controls at member state borders led to a worsening of conditions for transported animals.
The European Parliament has an inter-group for animal welfare which is critical of the existing rules. The Lisbon Treaty has the EU rules on animal welfare in Art. 13 and 36 TFEU. The EU must "pay full regard" to animal welfare but also respect such matters as religious rites, cultural traditions and such aspects of regional heritage as bull fighting in relevant countries.