New EU animal health law seen as “more efficient” than current system

The European Union’s new Animal Health Law, which comes into force on April 20, paves the way for a more efficient system to combat transmissible animal diseases, while also recognising the importance of recent emerging issues, such as antimicrobial resistance, says the EU’s commissioner for health and food safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis.

“Diseases like foot and mouth or bluetongue, can have a devastating effect on our livestock production, while others, such as avian influenza, or certain newly emerging diseases, have the potential to affect human health,” said commissioner Andriukaitis (pictured above), speaking in Brussels today.

“The new law provides a single, comprehensive animal health framework to replace the series of complicated rules which have accumulated over the years.”

Compared with the system currently in place, the new law is seen as providing simpler and clearer directions for national authorities so they can focus on the main priorities when combating animal diseases.

“The adopted legislation also clarifies the division of responsibilities between animal keepers, traders, veterinarians, and national authorities and puts in place better notification and surveillance tools to fight animal diseases,” said the Commissioner. “This should lead to fewer epidemics in EU countries, and help them reduce their social and economic effects thus ensuring the competitiveness and safety of EU livestock production.”

On the question of dealing with antimicrobial resistance, he said the new law set out a better legal basis for monitoring animal pathogens which are resistant to antimicrobial agents.

He also noted that two further proposals, one on veterinary medicines and the other on medicated feed, are currently being negotiated in the European Parliament and Council.

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