European Commission, Health & Consumers Directorate General (DG SANCO)
"Transboundary and emerging diseases in context of the new EU Animal Health Strategy"
Dr Gordejo gave an overview of the rapid response system that up till now has been well-functioning in response to outbreaks of epizootic diseases in the European Union, based on a strong network of CVOs in the Member States, the appointment of Community Reference Labs for epizootic diseases, and the tools for electronic identification of animals (TRACES), the disease notification system (ADNS), and the Standing Committee (SCOFCAH) for risk management during outbreaks of diseases.
However, although this rapid response system has worked well to contain outbreaks in the past (and present) a New EU Animal Health Strategy 2007-2012 was introduced in 2007 under the slogan "Prevention is Better than Cure". The core thinking of the strategy is that outbreaks of disease is not only a matter of concern to the veterinary authorities and to the farmers, but will affect the society as a whole, and thus a partnership including also industry and consumers is needed to address animal health in the future. This partnership has been acknowledged by the formation of the Animal Health Advisory Committee including stakeholders as described above.
The development of the New EU Animal Health Strategy rests on 4 pillars:
- Defining priorities
- Modernising the legal framework for animal diseases ( a new "Animal Health Law"
- Surveillance, threat prevention and crisis preparedness
- Science and research
The last pillar may be of particular interest to EPIZONE. It comprises among others funding for EFSA to continue its work of providing scientific opinions, development of the Community Reference Laboratories including an evaluation procedure, support to the Technological Platform on Global Animal Health, and targeted calls under the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Development.