Final vote of the Animal Health Law


FOUR PAWS welcomes this new legislation as a first step to establish EU mandatory identification and registration of companion animals

Brussels, 08.03.2016. On 8th March 2016, the Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council on transmissible animal diseases and amending and repealing certain acts in the area of animal health (“Animal Health Law”) was voted in the European Parliament by a broad majority. The text initially introduced in 2013 by the European Commission, has undergone significant changes, and was massively commented for the absence of animal welfare provisions. In particular, FOUR PAWS initiated a campaign entitled “Wild? Me?” two years ago in order to change the critical definition contained in this legislation, which was aiming to consider domestic animals as wild animals when they have no owner or are abandoned.

By a vote in the first reading in April 2014, the European Parliament showed its will to integrate more animal welfare concerns in this text, and also to require from the Member State the establishment of a mandatory identification and registration of dogs and cats before 2018. However, during the trialogue negociations between the Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament, this traceability duty was rejected. However, the final text includes article 113, with the registration of establishment owning animals, including commercial pet breeders, and article 114, with the possibility for the European Commission to adopt delegated acts aiming to establish detailed requirements for identification and registration of companion animals. In particular, the European Parliament voted two weeks ago in favor of a resolution asking the European Commission to adopt such a delegated act.

Although the distinction between kept and wild animals was maintained in the final text, the preamble of the legislation clearly explains that stray animals are not wild animals. Moreover, a general principle of responsibility of the public authorities for stray animals has been strongly affirmed, including a requirement to treat stray animals humanely, avoiding them pain, distress and suffering.

“Although we regret that some good animal welfare measures voted in first reading have not been kept in the final text, we welcome this legislation as a the fruit of a common effort from the Animal welfare sector constituting a concrete first step for the establishment of mandatory identification and registration of companion animals in Europe”, said Pierre Sultana, Director of the European Policy Office of VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS.  “We also warmly welcome the clear recognition of the unbreakable link between animal health and animal welfare”.

Through its CAROdog ( and CAROcat ( projects and the CARO EU Canine and Feline traceability experts group, FOUR PAWS has recently sent to the EU Institutions a concrete proposal to establish via a delegated act responsible ownership of dogs and cats by improving traceability of these animals. 


Summary of the debate:

On 7th March 2016, during the Plenary Session in the European Parliament, on the final text of the Animal Health Law was debated.

MEP Jasenko Selimovic, Rapporteur of the Animal Health Law, stressed that the adoption of this law will have a great impact not only on animals, but mainly on human health by enabling better prevention against transmissible diseases. He pinpointed out that for the first time in the EU, there will be a concrete EU legislation involving both animal and human health at the same time.

MEP Albert Dess noticed that this new EU regulation will implement concrete rules concerning prevention of listed diseases.

MEP Janusz Wojciechowski reminded the recent vote by the EU Parliament of a motion for a resolution on identification and registration of cats and dogs (on the basis of the Animal Health Law) and underlined that sterilization of stray dogs and cats should be subsidised by the EU.

Prevention of animals from stress and pain – especially during the transport to slaughterhouses was also mentioned during the debate. Additionally, MEP Franz Obermayer admitted that antibiotics are overused in treating animals, and the consumers’ awareness of the impact of eating contaminated meat is increasing, so the EU needs to constrain the use of antibiotics when it is not necessary. It was stressed out that a consumption of meat involving antibiotics is threating human health. Furthermore, MEP Clara Eugenia Aguilera Garcia stressed out that the EU should prioritise proper animal treating with medicines, which don’t have an impact on human health. Moreover, MEP Marijana Petir also underlined the excessive use of antibiotics in treating animals is an improper farmers’ practice, which cannot be longer accepted in the EU.

It was also pinpointed by the MEPs that there is a need to have a proper organisation in order to comply with the Animal Health Law in all EU Member States.

All MEPs agreed on the great importance of the Animal Health Law, which will contribute to ensure better and safer agriculture sector (mentioning veterinarians, farmers, and professionals) due to appropriate measures and the setting of transparent goals and requirements.

MEP Jasenko Selimovic stressed that for the first time in the EU we will have a clear link between animal health and human health and perfect instruments to operate it.


More information:


Previous FOUR PAWS Press Releases regarding the Animal Health Law: