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Europa Clarify EU Animal Health Strategy

by 5m Editor
12 September 2008, at 11:23am

EU - Europa have recently released a set of questions and answers to clarify the action plan for the implementation of the EU animal health strategy.

Europa says that the Action Plan should be read in conjunction with the EU Animal Health Strategy. It gives a more concrete form to the Strategy's vision and is an important next step towards the strategy's implementation. The Action Plan contains the key actions, actual steps to be made and their indicative timetable for completion over the next years.

Europa says that key elements such as the vision, purpose or goals of the Strategy have not been changed, but there are many new elements in the Action Plan. These, report Europa, only provide more details on the actions to-be-taken and are in line with the Strategy. The plan represents a renewed commitment from the Commission to follow up the steps and deliver the expected outcomes.

How is the Action Plan structured?

Similar to the Strategy, the Action Plan is structured around four main pillars of activity:

  1. Prioritisation of EU intervention;
  2. The EU Animal Health framework;
  3. Prevention, surveillance and preparedness;
  4. Science, Innovation and Research;

What are the key activities of the Action Plan in the 4 pillars?

1. Prioritisation of EU intervention

In order to re-evaluate priorities based on careful risk assessment and solid scientific advice, the Commission will develop a profiling and categorisation of animal disease risks which will provide the basis to prioritise actions. Interventions and resources will be focused on diseases with high public relevance.

2. The EU Animal Health framework

A main objective is the development of an EU Animal Health Law. The current series of linked and interrelated policy areas (trade/import, disease control, animal welfare etc.) will be replaced by a single regulatory framework. It will also re-define interfaces with the EU acquis on other areas such as environmental protection, pharmaceutical products, common agricultural policy legislation and rules established by relevant international organisations.

The introduction of a legislative proposal is planned towards a harmonised EU framework for responsibility- and cost-sharing to ensure that all players assume their responsibilities and play a part in detecting and eradicating disease.

3. Prevention, surveillance and preparedness

In the spirit of the "prevention is better than cure" identifying problems before they emerge while being ready to manage outbreaks and crises is a major objective. The Action Plan will focus on reinforcing biosecurity measures in all areas in which animals are found (farms, markets, border posts, transport vehicles etc).

It will explore the scope to make the fullest use possible of Community related funds (e.g. rural development fund etc.) when addressing actions which will have a positive impact on animal health such as investments in farm infrastructures, training for farmers, farm advisory services, and implementation of legal standards. Disease surveillance will be stepped up, and the EU traceability framework (identification, labelling, TRACES etc) will be strengthened.

To ensure better border biosecurity and to focus import controls on high risk imports, the Commission plans to adopt a legislative proposal to deliver a more risk-based approach to border inspections and to better target illegal trade.

4. Science, Innovation and Research.

Science is at the core of the Community food safety policy. Strengthening the scientific foundation of the Community animal health policy will be the key to maintaining a high level of consumer confidence and trust across the EU.

The Commission will continue to use the best available science in developing its animal health measures. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will continue to mobilise and coordinate scientific resources throughout the EU in order to provide the best scientific advice. The network of Community and national reference laboratories will be further developed

With the support of the European Medicines Agency (EMEA), the Commission will ensure that a suitable framework at Community level provides more incentives to manufacturers to develop new medicines and diagnostic tools. EMEA will also increase knowledge on the availability of EMEA Assistance to Small to Medium Sized Enterprises and applicants for Minor Uses Minor Species products.

Antimicrobial resistance remains an important concern. EFSA has provided an opinion on food-borne antimicrobial resistance. In the light of EFSA's opinion, the Commission will decide how to shape its policy as regards the surveillance and control of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in zoonotic agents caused by the use of antibiotics in animals.

Further Reading

- You can access more information on these activities by clicking here.