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The EU Animal Health Law

The European Parliament and the Council adopted the Regulation on transmissible animal diseases (“Animal Health Law”) in March 2016. The Regulation was published in the Official Journal on 31 March 2016 and the full text is available here. The Regulation enters into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union and will be applicable in 5 years. Several of the frequently asked questions are explained in more detail herepdf(139 kB).

Overall, the single, comprehensive new animal health law will support the EU livestock sector in its quest towards competitiveness and safe and smooth EU market of animals and of their products, leading to growth and jobs in this important sector:

  • The huge number of legal acts are streamlined into a single law

  • Simpler and clearer rules enable authorities and those having to follow the rules to focus on key priorities: preventing and eradicating disease

  • Responsibilities are clarified for farmers, vets and others dealing with animals

  • The new rules allow greater use of new technologies for animal health activities - surveillance of pathogens, electronic identification and registration of animals

  • Better early detection & control of animal diseases, including emerging diseases linked to climate change, will help to reduce the occurrence and effects of animal epidemics

  • There will be more flexibility to adjust rules to local circumstances, and to emerging issues such as climate and social change

  • It sets out a better legal basis for monitoring animal pathogens resistant to antimicrobial agents supplementing existing rules and two other proposals currently being negotiated in the European Parliament and Council, on veterinary medicines and on medicated feed

The animal health law is part of a package of measures proposed by the Commission in May 2013 to strengthen the enforcement of health and safety standards for the whole agri-food chain. It is the biggest and the first of those to get the approval of the co-legislators. The animal health law is also a key output of the Animal Health Strategy 2007-2013, "Prevention is better than cure".

Several delegated and implementing acts will be adopted by the Commission until April 2019 to make the new rules applicable. The Commission will duly consult experts, Member States and other interested parties, EU stakeholders (e.g. in the Animal Health Advisory Committee) during the drafting of these delegated and implementing acts, in the spirit of better regulation.

For further information, contact SANTE-animalhealthlaw@ec.europa.eu.

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