EU institutions reach provisional agreement on animal health laws

The European Parliament and the Council of the EU reached a provisional agreement on the outstanding issues concerning the proposal for a regulation on animal health law at a meeting on June 1.

The regulation is expected to be formally adopted before the end of 2015, after the final procedures including the legal-linguistic revision of the text, are completed, the Council says.

It will become applicable five years after its entry into force, it says.

The Council says that the animal health law aims to ensure high standards of animal and public health in the EU.

It will provide a single overarching legal framework with harmonised principles across the sector, which is currently regulated by a series of linked and interrelated regulations and directives, it says.

The focus of the animal health law is on the control and prevention of transmissible animal diseases, whose effect can be devastating for individual animals, animal populations, animal keepers and the economy.

It aims to reduce the adverse effects of those transmissible animal diseases and to limit the potential negative effects of the measures taken to prevent and control them, the Council says.

It also puts a high emphasis on the prevention of animal diseases and places a special importance on biosecurity measures as a key prevention tool, it says.

The diseases which will be subject to specific disease prevention and control rules are listed in the Annex to the Regulation, it says.

The initial list includes those diseases which currently qualify for EU funding (Regulation 652/2014), the Council says.

The Council says that the list will be reviewed and revised by the European Commission before the start of application of the animal health law, to ensure that all those diseases – and only those diseases – which meet the strict harmonised criteria set out in the animal health law are on that list.

The rules of the animal health law shall take into account, among other elements:
  • The relationship of animal health with public health,
  • The relationship of animal health with food and feed safety,
  • The relationship of animal health with antimicrobial resistance and with animal welfare, including the sparing of any avoidable pain, distress or suffering.
  • However, they do not replace, duplicate or overlap with the existing EU legislation on animal welfare.

The animal health law will be complemented by a set of more detailed rules to be adopted at a later stage by the Commission in accordance with the empowerments defined by the co-legislators, the Council says.

The proposal for a regulation on animal health law was originally issued as a part of a package of reviews relating to animal health, health of plants and official controls of plants, animals, food and feed, it says.

Janis Duklavs, President of the Council and the Latvian Minister for Agriculture, said that the new Regulation sets out a clear and single legal framework to ensure a better prevention and control of animal diseases transmissible between animals and from animals to humans.

“It takes into account new challenges such as diseases that up to recently were not known, increased trade volumes and technological developments,” he said.