Animals are sensitive living beings, which are able to feel delight and pain. A human being is morally obliged to respect any living being, to treat animals with a considerate understanding and to protect them. Nobody is allowed to kill animals without a justified reason, hurt them, cause sufferings or harm them in any other way.
The Ministry of agriculture ensures drawing up of animal welfare and protection policy in the country, covering the following spheres:
- agricultural animals – animals bred and reared with a view to obtaining animal products or for any other agricultural purposes, including game animals reared in confinement and animals obtained by means of genetic modifications;
- pets – animals kept for pleasure and companionship;
- laboratory animals – animals reared or used in experiments.
In order to guarantee animal welfare and protection in the country, national regulatory acts are being drawn up, in cooperation with non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders by incorporating requirements not regulated by the European Union legislation, options provided to Member States in EU regulations, and legal provisions incorporated in EU Directives and Decisions. At the same time, requirements of the national regulatory acts are being analyzed and aligned with international regulatory acts compulsory for Latvia.
The regulatory acts cover welfare requirements for agricultural animals in respect of their rearing, keeping and tending, as well as animal welfare during transport. There is number of regulatory acts, referring to welfare and protection of pet animals and laboratory animals, used in experiments.