Highly contagious animal diseases may have significant impacts on the health of animal populations. Certain animal diseases are also of particular concern to public health in cases where they may be transmissible to humans.
Current EU legislation on animal health is made up of over 50 basic legal instruments, complemented by more than 400 specific and implementing acts.
Announced as part of the animal heath strategy 2007-13, the Commission tabled a proposal for a new “animal health law” in May 2013. This single framework regulation would replace and encompass most of the present directives and regulations on animal health, striving for simplification and greater consistency under common principles and general rules. The fight against animal diseases would fall under clearly established responsibilities of the different actors, with more focus given to prevention. Control measures would build on risk-based categorisation of diseases. The proposal also aims at more flexibility and a reduced administrative burden, notably regarding some movements of animals in the EU, and at providing tools to adapt to new threats from emerging diseases.
The European Parliament has started its examination of the proposal, under the ordinary legislative procedure.