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Food Safety

EU Animal Health Strategy 2007-2013

From 2007, the EU embraced a new motto as part of its Animal Health Strategy: "prevention is better than cure", put in motion by the European Commission. The aim was to focus on preventive measures, disease surveillance, controls and research. That way, the incidence of potentially devastating animal diseases could be reduced and the impact of outbreaks could be minimised.

The larger goal was to welcome a new EU animal health policy that would be more robust but flexible, efficient and effective.

In September 2007 the Commission adopted its Animal Health Strategy. The Strategy had 4 pillars, along with two key underlying principles apply to all the work: partnership and communication

  • Defining Priorities – Developing profiling and categorisation of animal disease risks which provided the basis to prioritise actions. Interventions and resources should focus on diseases with high public and especially EU relevance, in line with the principles of proportionality and subsidiarity

  • EU Animal Health framework – The main objective was the development of an EU Animal Health Law. The legislative proposal aimed replacing the existing series of linked and interrelated policy actions by a single policy framework to become the ultimate legal vehicle to implement many principles of the Strategy. Other actions aimed towards a responsibility-and cost-sharing approach regarding the detection and the elimination of diseases, towards better handling of animal by-products and closer EU convergence to international standards and smother international markets

  • Prevention, surveillance and preparedness - In the spirit of the "prevention is better than cure" motto, identifying problems before they emerge while being ready to manage outbreaks and crises was a major objective

  • Science, innovation and research – The Animal Health Strategy was based on science and facilitated the cooperation of science and policy and well as implementation in many ways. This was key to maintaining a high level of consumer confidence and trust across the EU

In September 2008, the Commission adopted an Action Plan to facilitate better implementation of the Strategy.

Under Animal Health Strategy since 2007:

  • An Animal Health Advisory Committee has been created and regularly met

  • Communication and partnership with stakeholders has been elevated with many thematic events

  • A new EU Regulation on animal health, a cornerstone of the Strategy, was proposed

  • The rules for animal by-products and EU expenditure have been revised

  • Memorandum of Understanding with OIE was signed

  • Monitoring and surveillance of diseases were increased across the EU

  • Bovine electronic identification was introduced

  • Animal disease emergency preparedness was reinforced

  • Import controls on animals and animal products were improved

  • And many more...

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