British vets have welcomed an EU law that clarifies complex legislation around animal health, disease prevention and the vet’s role within it.
The Animal Health Law will see almost 40 legal acts streamlined into a single law to form a single overarching regulatory framework of standards for animal and public health in the EU.
The legislation was signed into law on 9 March and will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. It will enter into force 20 days later and will be applicable five years thereafter.
The scope of the regulation will cover transmissible animal diseases and all categories of animals – from terrestrial and aquatic to farm and pet animals and those kept for research and leisure purposes.
The regulations also cover wild animals, where there is a risk of transmitting a disease to other animals or humans.
Coordinated strategy vital
BVA senior vice-president John Blackwell said: “Given our closeness to Europe it is vital UK vets are supported by a coordinated European strategy for maintaining surveillance and vigilance for the control of known and unknown disease threats.
“It is right the EU should apply strict risk-based controls on imports as animals and animal products can essentially move freely once within EU borders. BVA agrees it is sensible to bring together the principles for setting those rules to improve consistency and transparency while facilitating trade.”
MEP Jasenko Selimovic, representative for the Agricultural and Rural Development committee – which was responsible for handling the initiative – described the adoption of the Animal Health Law as a “great victory”.
He said the law would link animal health and welfare and connect it to human health, help fight growing antimicrobial resistance and enable authorities and producers to focus more closely on prevention and control of transmissible animal diseases.