New EU laws will help millions of animals – from horses in Hungary to badgers in Britain

Yesterday (Tuesday 15 April) Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have voted to strengthen two proposed European laws, which will have an impact on millions of animals from wild badgers in the UK to farmed horses on the continent being transported for slaughter.

The European Commission published the two bills last year – a proposed Animal Health Law*, and a new Regulation on Official Controls*, which together aim to provide a modern, simple and risk-based approach to the protection of animal and human health.

Since then MEPs have been working to amend the proposals – which the RSPCA believed did not go far enough to address the root causes of the spread of animal disease, and risked reducing existing standards for the live transport and slaughter of animals.

Following the results of the votes today, Joe Moran, the RSPCA's Senior Parliamentary Adviser for Europe said, "By adopting the motions today, MEPs have helped millions of animals across the Union – from badgers in Britain to horses in Hungary.

"The original proposal from the Commission on Animal Health simply didn't go far enough to address the root causes of animal disease occurrences.  The amendments MEPs have adopted ensure that this law would become a useful tool for minimising transmissible diseases and animal suffering. Crucially it also provides for the development for vaccinations to truly fight the scourge of bovine TB..

"We now urge the Council to take on board the amendments that the Parliament has suggested, so that these new laws can be implemented as soon as is possible,” he added.

The RSPCA said the new laws highlight the close links  between  animal  health  and  welfare and  recognise  disease  concerns  linked  to  long haul transportation.

On the Official Controls Regulation, the RSPCA praised MEPs for ensuring that a simplification of the law doesn't equate to a reduction in standards. Thanks to their work, checks on animals being transported for slaughter will not be weakened, either during the journey or at the slaughterhouse.

It was also announced that new Reference Centres for Animal Welfare will be established to help share best practice, provide training and help with implementation.

If used properly, the RSPCA believes these could make a lasting impact on the welfare of animals across Europe, and the charity have pledged to work with the Commission to achieve these ends.



Notes to editors:


* The proposals for an Animal Health Law (2013/0136(COD)) and the Official Controls Regulation (2013/0140(COD)) are framework laws which together consolidate, update and simplify existing legislation in these areas from over 50 basic acts to two. These proposals would also provide for quicker, streamlined future legislation, and were published as part of the wider Animal and Plant Health Package by the European Commission on 6 May last year. More information on this can be found here:

The proposals will only be adopted after the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union reach agreement on a text. The proposals, including the Parliament's amendments, will now be considered by Member States in the Council.

The results of the final votes on the legislative motions were as follows:

The Pirillo Report on the Official Controls Reg was adopted with 656 in favour, 51 against, and 27 abstentions.

The Paulsen Report on the Animal Health Law was adopted with 570 in favour, 63 against, and 19 abstentions.

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