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Food Safety

Animal Health Law

About the Animal Health Law

The European Parliament and the Council adopted the Regulation (EU) 2016/429 on transmissible animal diseases ("Animal Health Law") in March 2016. It has been applicable since 21 April 2021.

Overall, the single, comprehensive new animal health law supports the EU livestock sector in its quest towards competitiveness and safe and smooth EU market of animals and of their products, leading to growth and jobs in this important sector:

  • The huge number of legal acts are streamlined into a single law
  • Simpler and clearer rules enable authorities and those having to follow the rules to focus on key priorities: preventing and eradicating disease
  • Responsibilities are clarified for farmers, vets and others dealing with animals
  • The rules allow greater use of new technologies for animal health activities - surveillance of pathogens, electronic identification and registration of animals
  • Better early detection & control of animal diseases, including emerging diseases linked to climate change, will help to reduce the occurrence and effects of animal epidemics
  • It offers more flexibility to adjust rules to local circumstances, and to emerging issues such as climate and social change
  • It sets out a better legal basis for monitoring animal pathogens resistant to antimicrobial agents, supplementing existing rules and Regulations on veterinary medicines and on medicated feed

The animal health law was part of a package of measures proposed by the Commission in May 2013 to strengthen the enforcement of health and safety standards for the whole agri-food chain. As such, it is closely linked to Regulation (EU) 2017/625 ("Official Controls Regulation"). The animal health law is also a key output of the Animal Health Strategy 2007-2013, "Prevention is better than cure".

Several delegated and implementing actshave been adopted by the Commission to make the new rules applicable. In addition to those delegated and implementing acts under the animal health law, under the official controls regulation Delegated Regulation (EU) 2022/671 and Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/160 were also published to cover some specificities of official controls on the animal health area.

The Commission has duly consulted experts, Member States and other interested parties, EU stakeholders (e.g. in the Animal Health Advisory Committee) during the drafting of these delegated and implementing acts, in the spirit of better regulation principles.

List of animal diseases relevant for the Union intervention and categories of animal diseases and list of species and groups of species are laid down in Regulation (EU) 2018/1629 and Regulation (EU) 2018/1882.

On the new rules, a series of 5 seminars was provided to the competent authorities of Member States and of certain third countries under the Better Training for Safer Food (BTSF) initiative between 19 January and 24 June 2021, as well as a conference on 21 April 2021, also including numerous stakeholders.

These were done as video (remote) events, 3 half-day for the seminars and 2 half-days for the conference.

All of the training materials are available here.

From September 2021 to May 2022 a new series of BTSF trainings has been delivered as video (remote) events at 7 occasions.

From June 2022 the BTSF trainings are foreseen to switch back to traditional format (classroom + practical exercises).

For further information, please contact SANTE-ANIMAL-HEALTH-LAWatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (SANTE-ANIMAL-HEALTH-LAW[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu).

General Q&As

Regulation (EU) 2016/429 on transmissible animal diseases ("Animal Health Law") - April 2021

Information material

The European Commission services have prepared a set of information material to support the implementation of the AHL and to help to raise awareness on different parts of the new EU animal health rules.

This information material consists of a poster, a leaflet, a short video as well as nine thematic factsheets. They are available in all EU official languages.

The poster, the leaflet and the video provide general information on the new animal health rules.

The factsheets provide more focussed information on certain animals, products or activities and are targeting specific groups.

Evaluation of the Animal Health Law

According to Article 282, the Commission must evaluate Regulation (EU) 2016/429 together with the delegated acts and submit the evaluation results in a report to the European Parliament and the Council by 22 April 2026.

More information on the recent evaluation process and consultation, can be found on the "have your say"-page.

The evaluation will assess if the legal framework delivers adequate tools for the competent authorities, operators, and other stakeholders. These tools aim to effectively prevent and control animal diseases relevant to the EU intervention and ensure the safe operation of animals and animal products in the EU single market.

The evaluation will also show if this legal framework is easy to understand and apply and if it helps build confidence in animals and their products in the single market.

Related links

Study on intra European Union (intra-EU) animal health certification of certain live animals