European Union: The EU’s Animal Health Policy Strategy

Last Updated: 16 January 2007
Article by Jane Gamble and Jackie Smith

On 7 November 2006, the Food Chain Evaluation Consortium ("FCEC") presented the conclusions and recommendations of its evaluation of the Community’s Animal Health Policy ("CAHP") at a conference in Brussels. The European Commission intends to publish a Communication setting out a new CAHP Strategy for 2007 to 2013, based on the FCEC’s report and the conference feedback, in mid-2007.


Animal health is an increasingly important issue in the EU. As well as the financial costs of animal disease outbreaks, there is growing concern about ethical issues related to the mass slaughter of animals when controlling an outbreak and the potential impact of certain animal diseases, such as avian influenza, on human health.

The current CAHP has evolved from various developments, including the setting up of the single market and serious animal health crises. It consists of a series of interrelated policies founded on more than 600 EU Regulations, Directives and Decisions. However, despite the numerous measures in place, the livestock sector in the EU has experienced many crises during the past decade, such as BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) and foot-and-mouth disease.

Several important changes have also occurred that impact on animal health in the EU. For example, the volume of trade and imports in animal products has increased greatly over recent years, and combined with larger animal units and high animal density, these have facilitated the spread of diseases and magnified their impact. There have been significant scientific and technological advances in animal health management. In addition, the main elements of the existing CAHP were drawn up when there were only 12 Member States – with Bulgaria and Romania joining the EU in 2007, there will soon be 27 Member States, which brings further cultural and logistical challenges in relation to animal health policy.


In December 2004, the European Commission announced that it would develop a new Animal Health Strategy to improve the prevention and control of animal disease and simplify the complex animal health legislation.

As part of this process, the Commission appointed the Food Chain Evaluation Consortium ("FCEC") as consultants to evaluate the performance of the existing CAHP between 1995 and 2004 and to identify future policy options. The FCEC undertook extensive stakeholder consultation, involving over 100 interviews with relevant authorities and interested parties at EU and Member State level and a survey of 34 non-EU countries. The consultation and evaluation covered intra-Community trade, control and eradication programmes, imports, disease monitoring and surveillance, traceability, research and scientific advice, protection of public health and financial instruments and funding.

The FCEC published its final report in July 2006 for public consultation. The report concluded that the existing CAHP has played a key role in facilitating trade in animals and animal products, ensuring food safety, preventing the transmission of animal diseases to humans and providing financial support for the control and eradication of many serious diseases. The CAHP has become increasingly successful and policy improvements have mainly been stimulated by the need to respond to major crises.

However, the report also expressed concern over a number of aspects of the current CAHP, including:

  • the lack of a clear and transparent overall EU animal health strategy
  • the lack of uniformity in certification procedures and veterinary checks across the EU and
  • the variation in results of control and eradication programmes between different diseases and in different regions within the Community.


The report recommends a move towards a policy which is more focused on effective risk management and disease prevention. This involves better prioritisation of actions relating to disease eradication and surveillance, research and development, controls on illegal entry of potentially risk carrying materials and bio-security. Better consistency between actions to improve animal health and welfare in the EU and international competitiveness could be achieved by pursuing simplified rules and carrying out impact assessments before introducing new legislation. The report also recommends a major overhaul of the way costs of disease control are shared between farmers, EU Member States and the EU.

The FCEC report identified a number of possible options for the future CAHP, including:

  • further alignment of EU legislation to OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) guidelines and standards
  • rationalising Committee procedures (that is, investigating whether all legislation relating to animal health needs to go through the Standing Committee procedure)
  • improving stakeholder engagement and involvement in decision-making
  • targeting illegal imports and fraud through enhanced border security
  • a gradual move towards integrated electronic identification and certification procedures for intra-Community trade
  • providing specific support to third countries to assist them in upgrading their animal health status to meet EU and international (OIE) requirements and
  • promoting a stronger culture of biosecurity.

A key component in the promotion of a culture of bio security would be the introduction of a harmonised framework for cost and responsibility sharing. The introduction of a disease classification system would allow greater focus on those diseases where co-ordinated action at EU level is needed most, due to the potential impact on human health and the economy.


As part of the consultation process, a stakeholder conference on the CAHP Strategy 2007-2013 was held in Brussels on 7 November 2006. The FCEC’s presentation of the main conclusions of its final report and options for the future was followed by panel discussions on challenges for the future CAHP, options to improve "biosecurity" and harmonised responsibility and cost sharing schemes for epidemic livestock diseases.

A number of views were expressed in the panel discussions. There were differences of opinion as to whether simplification of legislation should be based on agreed standards or detailed rules. There was wide support for improving on-farm biosecurity measures and the development of a "responsibility and costs sharing scheme", though a number of different positions were voiced at the conference in relation to how cost and responsibility sharing would work in practice. Many participants felt that financial support should focus on preventive measures.


Based on the FCEC’s evaluation and the consultation, including the output of the November conference, the Commission is planning to publish a Communication on the new CAHP Strategy for 2007 to 2013.

The Communication is expected to reflect the recommendations of the FCEC and set out a framework for the new CAHP, including:

  • clarification of the roles and responsibilities of farmers, veterinarians, industry, stakeholder organisations and governments and European institutions
  • an action plan of legislative and non-legislative measures for 2007 to 2013
  • alignment of the CAHP with other EU policies and international agreements (for example, the Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Agreement of the WTO)
  • measures to minimise the regulatory burden
  • an appropriate budget and an adequate financial instrument and
  • indicators to assess achievement of strategic targets.

The Commission is expected to present a preliminary draft of the Communication to the European Parliament in mid-2007 and to adopt the Communication in the second half of 2007. The Communication will then be debated in the Council and Parliament and their position is expected by the end of 2007.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.