Healthy animals for a healthy Europe

22 2008

Healthy animals for a healthy Europe

Under the motto "prevention is better than cure", EU unveils its first animal health strategy

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Two years' consultation and analysis have gone into this, the EU's first ever animal health strategy, for 2007-2013. It will cover all animals in the bloc and also address animal welfare issues. Taking a preventive approach, it advocates a mix of precautionary measures, disease surveillance, regular checks and scientific research.

The UK's latest outbreak of foot-and-mouth just a month ago highlighted the implications animal health has for human health, food safety, and economic prosperity, not to mention the ethical aspects. Summing up the new package, health commissioner Markos Kyprianou said "the aim is to serve public health and to achieve the highest possible level of animal health and welfare in the EU."

With an average annual budget of "400m, the strategy seeks to safeguard and promote:

public health / food safety
animal health
economic development in animal-related sectors
sustainable farming and animal welfare practices.
Improving the safety of imports and animal trade is also a key aim of the new strategy. But rather than impose burdensome new border checks, the idea is to focus on high-risk imports and tackle threats at source, through partnerships with the exporting countries, for example. Illegal trade, which poses even greater risks to both animal and human health, is also covered by the strategy.

The preventive approach favours developing scientific research and innovation centrally. A good example is the promising new bird flu vaccine created by a team of scientists this September, funded partly by the EU's research programme . The new strategy will look to expand networks of national reference laboratories, to maximise and pool European knowledge and expertise.

More on animal health


Source by europeanunion

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