Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission
The proposal for an Animal Health Regulation(1) distinguishes two categories of animals: ‘kept animals’ and ‘wild animals’. The category of ‘wild animals’ is defined as ‘animals which are not kept animals’. In practice, this category would include stray or feral animals that are not kept by humans, whatever their species.
The proposal for an Animal Health Regulation is about transmissible animal diseases and not about animal welfare or animal protection. In that context, and depending on whether or not there is a person responsible for the keeping of an animal, the Commission distinguishes two categories of animals i.e. ‘kept’ and ‘wild’ animals.
Stray animals, similarly to other feral animals and wildlife, have no responsible person to take care of them. In the absence of such a person, and where an intervention is needed and justified for these animals to protect animal or public health, special measures and resources for the prevention and control of diseases in such animals may need to be developed and mobilised. This in particular entails an aspect of a broader public concern. To address this specific issue, the Animal Health Regulation provides for the possibility for special measures to be developed equally for any animal without an identified keeper, regardless of the fact of whether they are feral animals or wildlife.