An overview of the current European legislation concerning animal welfare is given. The legal requirements concern the housing and care of production animals (poultry, calves and swine), the transport of animals and the killing of animals (not only in slaughterhouses, but also in case of contagious animal disease outbreaks). General information concerning the principles and contents of European pieces of legislation as well as detailed information concerning requirements for individual animal species is given. Furthermore, other elements concerning animal welfare such as castration of piglets, ritual slaughter and animals used for experimental purposes are also reviewed. Finally, some recent initiatives in the field of animal welfare are mentioned and useful links are provided for finding the various legislative acts and additional supportive information.