Animal Health Act 2002

Applies to EnglandApplies to Wales

Title: Animal Health Act

Category: England and Wales Law

Date: 2002

Reference: Chapter 42 [Full text]

General Description:

The Act has two main purposes. The first is to provide additional powers to tackle Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and for these powers to be extendable to other animal diseases by order. The second is to provide additional powers to deal with transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) in sheep. The Act also makes a number of amendments to the enforcement provisions of the Animal Health Act 1981.

The Act supplements existing powers under the Animal Health Act 1981 ("the 1981 Act") to slaughter animals to control the spread of FMD by allowing animals to be slaughtered wherever this is necessary to prevent the spread of disease.  At present, only animals which are affected or suspected of being affected with the disease, have been in contact with affected animals, or exposed to the disease may be slaughtered.  The Act will allow vaccinated animals to be slaughtered and require compensation to be paid of market value of the animals with respect to FMD, and of an amount to be prescribed in an order for other diseases. The categories of animals which may be slaughtered with a view to preventing the spread of FMD has been extended (with respect to Schedule 3 to the 1981 Act) and the new power may be exercised whether or not the animals concerned are affected or suspected of being affected with the disease, have been in contact with affected animals, or have been exposed to or vaccinated against the disease .  The Act provides for the preventive slaughter power, and power to slaughter vaccinated animals and pay compensation, to be extended to other animal diseases.   Powers to seize and dispose of carcasses to apply specifically to animals slaughtered because of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies have also been extended.

The Act provides powers for the Secretary of State to specify, by Order, genotypes in sheep which are more susceptible than other sheep genotypes to infection by TSEs or to becoming carriers of TSEs and it provides powers for Ministers, by regulation, to make provision for the identification of such sheep. Where sheep are identified as being of a genotype specified in the Order the Secretary of State must consider whether there are exceptional circumstances, including the potential impact of the use of breeding restrictions on the survival of the breed, which allow the sheep to be used for breeding. In the absence of exceptional circumstances the Secretary of State must give notice on the keeper of the sheep imposing restrictions on the use of the sheep for breeding and requiring either its castration /sterilisation or slaughter. The Act provides for appeals, compensation and enforcement powers and penalties in relation to these provisions.

Pertinence to Agriculture: Livestock, Health, Welfare

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