MEPs move to tackle animal diseases

Draft legislation hopes to combat the threat of communicable animal diseases, while still upholding animal welfare standards. [MdAgDep/Flickr]

MEPs have agreed on a package of measures that is intended to combat animal epidemics, while at the same time maintaining animal welfare. EURACTIV Italy reports.

The European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee has approved a draft regulation, informally agreed upon by MEPs and the European Council in 2015, which lays out new measures that are intended to prevent and tackle animal epidemics that could potentially be transmitted to humans. The text focuses on prevention, emergency measures and responsibility.

All farmers, landowners and livestock traders are expected to carry out good practice when it comes to animal husbandry and to use veterinary medicines responsibly and prudently. The European Commission will be tasked with monitoring the effectiveness of antimicrobials on livestock by member states and regularly publishing comparable, detailed data.

Commission urged to rectify Romania dairy error

Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Cioloș clarified on Monday (21 March) that a health alert, initially raised by Italian authorities, was erroneously made by the European Commission, as it concerned only one dairy company, not all of Romanian cheese production. EURACTIV Romania reports.

The draft law enables the Commission to take emergency measures when it comes to emerging diseases that could have a “very signficant impact” on public health, animal well-being and agricultural production.

MEPs agreed upon a number of measures in order to guarantee effective prevention and management of diseases, including:

  • Involving both the Parliament and Council in drafting and updating a list of potentially dangerous diseases, such as African swine fever, avian influenza or foot-and-mouth disease, in consultation with the European Food Safety Autority (EFSA);
  • Involving relevant stakeholders, such as agricultural and veterinary associations, in the planning of emergency measures.

All methods of control will have to prioritise animal welfare and ensure there is no suffering.

The new rules emphasise responsibility on the part of farmers, traders, vets and animal owners in ensuring that their animals are of good health and that the spread or introduction of disease is prevented. Vets, for example, will be obligated by law to raise awareness among pet owners about the dangers of resistance to treatment, especially antibiotic and antimicrobial resistance.

Antibiotic resistance looms as serious threat to health

Intestinal bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics have been detected in animals, humans and food in Germany. Experts fear future health problems if steps are not immediately taken. EURACTIV Germany reports.

Finally, in order to prevent the spread of disease by stray animals, MEPs agreed that animal owners and traders will have to register their animals and authorised the Commission to ask the member states, where necessary, to establish national databases for dogs and other domestic animals.

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