MEPS vote on animal health law in agriculture committee: clear improvements, but concerns remain
Posted on 11/02/2014
Today, the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee voted on the draft report concerning the future EU Regulation on animal health (COM(2013)260). Led by Rapporteur Marit Paulsen, the vote sees the adoption of a report which includes a number of changes to the Commission’s proposal.
First and foremost, the report changes the title of the regulation from one on ‘animal health’ to one on ‘the prevention and control of animal diseases which are transmissible among animals or to humans’. The amended title more closely matches the content of the proposed law. 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, and Eurogroup for Animals welcomes efforts to develop more comprehensive legislation in this domain.
In addition a number of compromise and consolidated amendments were agreed that could help to address animal health concerns more holistically, by seeking to address concerns linked to animal transport (a cause of stress that may facilitate disease transmission in animals), antimicrobial resistance (often resulting from improper use of antibiotics in animals) and by improving the recognition of the inter-linkages between animal health and animal welfare (animal health threats are often magnified by poor animal management practices). Other improvements include improved transparency and consultation with stakeholders when listing diseases covered by the regulation, as well as improved consideration of scientific and expert opinions related to relevant diseases.
“We welcome several elements of this Report, however we remain concerned that the proposal will not go far enough to more holistically address the root causes of animal disease occurrences, which not only affect animals but which also pose environmental and public health concerns,” said Reineke Hameleers, Director at Eurogroup for Animals.
The Report will now be discussed and voted at Plenary in mid-March but we 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 earliest and we will work to ensure that the animal welfare improvements made today are maintained.