On Tuesday 15 April Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted to strengthen two proposed European laws, which will have an impact on the lives millions of animals.

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

However we believed the bills 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.

Since then MEPs have been working to improve the proposals and we now urge Council to take on the amendments.

This law would now become a useful tool

Following the results of the votes, Joe Moran, our 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.”

Simplification of the law doesn’t equate to a reduction in standards

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, we 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, we believe these could make a lasting impact on the welfare of animals across Europe, and we have pledged to work with the Commission to achieve these ends.

Take action

Ask your European election candidates to pledge to support a new animal welfare law if they’re elected as MEPs in May. Take action now.

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If you would like to help the RSPCA, you can donate online or give £3 now by texting HELP to 78866 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).