EU Adopts Important Animal Health Law

Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity and chair of The EU Dog & Cat Alliance, has announced its delight at the European Parliament’s adoption of the Animal Health Law, a policy they describe as an important development in the European Union’s legislative landscape, streamlining almost 40 legal acts related to animal health into a single law and regulating transmissible animal diseases.

The charity says:

The EU Dog & Cat Alliance is a leading European expert on companion animal welfare, encompassing over 55 organisations from over 20 member states, and has been working with EU policymakers since 2014 on issues relating to animal welfare.

Simona Lipstaite, European Policy Advisor at Dogs Trust, comments:

“This new legislation represents a huge potential step forward for companion animal welfare as it creates a legal framework for the introduction of compulsory identification and registration systems of pet animals across Member States. We are encouraged by the Commission’s recent statement that it intends to start preparatory work on a delegated act to this end.

Compulsory microchipping is already in place in Northern Ireland and comes into effect in England, Scotland and Wales in April, and Dogs Trust looks forward to translating its experience and expertise in this area to the European level. As the Animal Health Law has now been formally adopted and there are no more legal barriers, it is time to take this next important step in promoting animal health and welfare, public health and consumer protection.

The new Regulation will also require all professional pet keepers and sellers in the EU to be registered, improving standards across Member States. Although the Regulation does not contain provisions which specifically regulate animal welfare, we believe that this is nonetheless an area that must be addressed on an EU level in the future, and we urge the Commission to prepare a new animal welfare strategy as the next step in ensuring that the EU remains a global leader in animal welfare standards.”

What is Animal Health Law?

The new regulation establishes a single regulatory framework for animal health which integrates, streamlines and simplifies the existing legislation. Intended as a framework, the regulation itself only lays down general principles and basic rules.

Detailed provisions are to be established later by delegated or implementing acts (taking over the elements of existing legislation which currently function well). This should allow the flexibility to react to new situations.

The new law would also place stronger focus on prevention and be better aligned to international standards, particularly the OIE. The scope of the regulation would cover transmissible animal diseases and all categories of animals: terrestrial and aquatic, kept animals of all types (farm and pet animals, animals kept for research purposes, for leisure etc.) and also to some extent wild animals (where there is a risk of transmitting a disease to other animals or to humans).*

*Source: European Parliament Animal Health Law: Rules on transmissible animal diseases. February 2016.

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