Those in the livestock industry involved in rearing animals and in producing milk, meat and eggs, must respond to two demands: one expressed by consumers, and the other by the public. Regarding consumers, demand for food produced by the livestock industry has shown steady growth for a century. Over the last few decades, this growth has been sustained by the developing countries, and is based mainly on pig and poultry production, which provides cheaper products. Regarding the public, society is showing greater concern about the conditions in which livestock is reared, transported and slaughtered. The public demands not only that ill treatment of animals be fought against and penalised, but also that any unnecessary suffering should be avoided and even that animals should be guaranteed a certain degree of ‘comfort’. Animal health, the most important aspect of their welfare, has vastly improved, as has the care of sick or injured animals. At the same time, the latest amenities used in livestock rearing, transport and slaughter are helping to eliminate situations involving extreme stress and suffering. Finally, the motivation of industry players and the safety of those who work with livestock must be taken into consideration. Training of personnel and the implementation of guides to good practice or of quality control do as much to improve animal welfare as do overzealous regulations.