EU animal disease measures secure agriculture committee support

New measures to prevent and halt outbreaks of animal diseases such as African swine fever (AFS) or avian flu have secured the approval of the agriculture committee of the European Parliament (EP).

The adoption of the new Animal Health Law was described as a “great victory” by Swedish MEP, Jasenko Selimovic (pictured above), who led the measure through the committee process.

“This makes three things possible,” he said. “First, it links animal health and welfare and connects it to human health. This direct link, together with emphasis on responsible use of antibiotics, will help us fight growing antimicrobial resistance.

“Second, it enables the authorities and producers to focus more closely on prevention and control of transmissible animal diseases.

“Third, it merges around 40 legal acts into one basic act.”

The new rules put more emphasis on prevention than cure, in line with parliament’s long-standing position. As a result, all farmers and other animal owners and traders will be “obliged to apply the principles of good animal husbandry” and a prudent, responsible use of veterinary medicines.

An EP statement also declared that the Commission “should keep an eye on the actual use of animal antimicrobials in member states and regularly publish comparable and sufficiently detailed data to this end”.

The agreed law, approved by the agriculture committee unanimously, still needs to be endorsed by the full parliament at the second reading, possibly as early as March 7 – 10, during a plenary session in Strasbourg.

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