Animal Health Law vote signals need to address concerns holistically: but more work is needed
Posted on 16/04/2014
Yesterday, the European Parliament voted in favour of making multiple improvements to the future EU Regulation on animal health (COM(2013)260) by voting in favour of the overwhelming majority of amendments that had been adopted in the Parliament's Agriculture Committee report. Led by Marit Paulsen, Rapporteur of the Agriculture Committee for this dossier, the agreed amendments should ensure a more focused and holistic approach to the prevention and control of animal diseases which are transmissible among animals or to humans.
“We welcome the news that many important amendments with positive impacts on animal health and welfare have now been supported by the Parliament. We know that this result follows intensive negotiations on key points of importance for us that were addressed in the Agriculture Report and accompanying Opinions of the Environment and Fisheries Committees”, said Reineke Hameleers, Director at Eurogroup for Animals.
“Whilst we congratulate Marit Paulsen MEP on this very important outcome, we do remain concerned that the proposal will not go far enough to ensure a proper scope of application regarding specific diseases and animals, basic requirements, and ensuring that animal welfare requirements are respected. We therefore call on Member States to help address these concerns during Council discussions”, she continued.
Animal diseases pose a huge threat to a large variety of animal species, including pet animals, exotic pets, aquatic animals, and farm animals as well as the risk of transmission to humans. The Plenary outcome, if also supported by Member States, could help to improve the Commission’s proposal through better recognition of animal health and welfare linkages, the importance of reducing antimicrobial resistance, and recognising disease concerns linked to transport, among other improvements. However, key issues linked to the scope of the legislation regarding animals and diseases must still be addressed, as well as improved consideration of the humane treatment of animals. We also believe that general requirements concerning registration, record keeping and movements within the Union should explicitly apply to pet breeders, traders and keepers. And we support the permanent identification and registration of dogs and cats moving across borders.
“These changes are needed to ensure that the proposed law will best act as a more useful tool for minimising transmissible diseases and animal suffering”, concluded Reineke Hameleers.
We now expect intensive negotiations between Member States and the Parliament in order to reach an agreement on the final legislative text, which is not expected before the second half of 2014 at the earliest and we will work to ensure that the animal welfare improvements made today are maintained.