€250 Million To Combat Animal Diseases

EU - Aiming to further strengthen the protection of human and animal health, the European Union earmarked today more than €250 million to support programmes to eradicate, control and monitor animal diseases in 2011.
calendar icon 12 October 2010
clock icon 4 minute read

Member States endorsed the financial package proposed by the European Commission during today's meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH).

The 138 annual or multi-annual programmes, which have been selected for EU funding, will tackle animal diseases that impact both human and animal health. More than half of the total sum will be used to finance programmes to eradicate eight important animal diseases.

Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner John Dalli said: "It is rewarding to witness the tangible benefits of our efforts over the years such as the suppression of Bluetongue disease which has not been a problem to farmers or the industry in 2010. Rabies is another success story. Its eradication is now in sight and I look forward to achieving this goal in the near term".

To conclude: "In proposing this decision, we were also aware that many Member States have budgetary constraints at present and we have done our utmost to assist them. We will continue to do so, because the results of these programmes tell us that this is money well spent."

Eradication programmes

For the year 2011, 60 annual or multi-annual programmes to eradicate 8 important animal diseases will be granted Community financial support. The total EU contribution to these programmes will be around €135 million.

Following the success of the programmes in recent years, which have virtually eradicated rabies in the western part of the EU, most of the activity in 2011 will be focused towards the Member States in the eastern part of the continent and also includes some actions in Ukraine and Belarus. €24 million are allocated to rabies eradication in 12 Member States. Rabies is spread by infected wildlife and the programmes aim at producing immunity in the wildlife by orally vaccinating them with baits containing vaccine.

Within this budget, diseases that might be transmitted to humans have been prioritised. Significant sums will be spent on the eradication of brucellosis, tuberculosis and rabies. For tuberculosis, €16 million is allocated to Ireland, €23 million to the UK, €7.5 million to Italy and €15 million for Spain.

Zoonoses control

The reported cases of salmonellosis in humans continue to decline.

In 2011, over €23 million is allocated to control zoonotic salmonella in breeding and laying hens and in broilers (Gallus gallus) and turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) in all 27 Member States.

Avian influenza surveillance

Member States will also continue to carry out surveillance for avian influenza in poultry and wild birds in 2011 with financial assistance from the EU towards laboratory testing and wild birds sampling costs. About €3.6 million are being made available from the EU budget.

This surveillance is the most effective way to detect early outbreaks of both high and low pathogenic influenzas and was extremely useful in previous years.

TSE programmes

The overall trend in combating Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs) is positive and is improving year by year due to a good implementation of the monitoring and eradication programmes in most Member States.

The Commission has agreed to make more than €86 million available from the EU budget to assist Member States in the monitoring of TSEs, and for BSE eradication and compulsory Scrapie eradication measures. The requests from Member States for BSE eradication, i.e. culling of cohorts of BSE-infected animals, have dropped in line with the major reduction in new BSE cases.

Reference Laboratories

SCoFCAH also endorsed today another Commission proposal to allocate in 2011 €14 million to finance a network of European Union Reference Laboratories in the animal health and food safety area. These laboratories act as reference points for the Commission and Member States and are essential elements in the EU policy to ensure a high level of animal health and food safety throughout the European Union.

The laboratories offer specialised advice in areas of animal health, food safety and residues. They also co-ordinate Laboratories in the Member States and ensure high standards by carrying out comparative trials on testing methods and standards.

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